Espeland told Reuters Health there could be a few possible explanations for the difference between older and younger women using hormone replacement therapy. One possible explanation could be that older women already have more memory problems and hormone therapy accelerates the decline. It could also be that a woman’s brain adapts to lower levels of hormones after menopause and hormone therapy disrupts that process. The new study, however, may not have had enough participants to measure any moderate benefits from taking hormone therapy during the early stages of menopause, said Grodstein. “One study is not going to tell us everything,” she said.
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Manning wants hormone therapy in prison. Will it happen?
In one arm of the trial, participants were randomly assigned to take either hormone therapy or a drug-free placebo. In another, they took 1,000 milligrams of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D or placebo tablets each day. About 16,000 women were part of both the hormone and vitamin trials, including 4,000 randomized to both hormone therapy – either estrogen alone or estrogen and progesterone – and calcium and vitamin D. In total, 214 women had a hip fracture during the study. The researchers found that women assigned to both the hormone therapy and vitamin groups were about half as likely to have a fracture as those in the placebo groups.
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Hormone therapy, calcium may lower fracture risk
That suit was settled outside of court two years later, with one prong of the settlement being a change to prison policy, allowing hormone therapy treatment to start in prison. In May 2011, the Bureau of Prisons sent a memo to its wardens outlining a new policy that all inmates seeking hormone replacement therapy “Receive a current individualized assessment and evaluation. Treatment options will not be precluded solely due to level of services received, or lack of services, prior to incarceration.” Manning’s prison sentence doesn’t fall under this policy. Military prisons are part of the Defense Department, not the Bureau of Prisons.
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Hormone Therapy Not for Older Women
“Instead, there was an increase in risk of cardiovascular events.” Within the first year of the trial, 11 women had “cardiovascular events” — that is, angina (chest pain), nonfatal heart attack , or sudden cardiac death. All of these women were assigned to hormone therapy. None of these serious events occurred among women receiving inactive placebo treatment. By itself, the brief trial proves very little. But the findings are identical to those seen over seven years in the WHI study, Darbyshire says. That’s true, says JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, chief of preventive medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
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