Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Animal research suggests perimenopause is a critical time for women’s health

06.12.2005


Research in monkeys suggests that the perimenopause – the five to 10 years before a woman’s menopause – is a critical time for preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.



"Research in animals suggests that the five years before menopause are when bone is lost and when heart vessel disease begins to accelerate," according to Jay Kaplan, Ph.D., from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, who spoke today at the annual meeting of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in Boston. "Waiting until menopause is not the time to start thinking about prevention."

Kaplan, a professor of comparative medicine, was invited to summarize his extensive research on how hormone levels affect health. His work has focused primarily on how stress during the younger years can interfere with ovulation and reduce estrogen levels, which can set the stage for heart disease later in life.


"But, this isn’t just a problem in younger women," he said. "At perimenopause, all women are affected by variably changing and ultimately declining estrogen levels. Perimenopause is a time of increased vulnerability to chronic disease."

Women have traditionally been considered immune from heart disease until after menopause, when their estrogen levels dramatically drop. However, Kaplan’s research has shown that in monkeys, the process starts much earlier. He found that stress in the younger years can reduce estrogen levels and lead to the buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessels (atherosclerosis) that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

"Our research adds to the growing body of evidence that cardiovascular health after menopause is influenced by hormone levels many years earlier," said Kaplan. "Our monkey studies showed that a deficiency of estrogen before menopause places these females on a high-risk trajectory, even if they got estrogen treatment after menopause."

For women in perimenopause who intend to take hormone therapy, Kaplan said the research suggests that perimenopause may be the best time to start.

"The results emphasize that primary prevention of heart disease should start pre-menopausally," he said.

Kaplan’s animal studies found that treating the estrogen-deficient monkeys with estrogen before menopause markedly slowed the growth of atherosclerosis. Kaplan said the findings were consistent with the hypothesis that estrogen inhibits the development of vessel disease, but may be ineffective if the disease already exists.

"Applied to women, this lifetime study suggests that having an estrogen deficiency in the pre-menopausal years predicts a higher rate of heart disease after menopause, even when treated with hormone replacement therapy after menopause," said Kaplan.

Kaplan said that some physicians advocate women taking oral contraceptives right up until menopause, and then beginning hormone therapy. He said animal research suggests that oral contraceptives can be effective in heart disease protection.

However, the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest study to date to test the effectiveness of hormone therapy in women, found that treatment with combination therapy (estrogen and progestin) increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and stroke. As a result of the study, many doctors advise that women not take hormone therapy to prevent heart disease.

But critics of that study say it didn’t involve enough younger women to see if taking the drugs earlier can be effective for prevention. A theory that there is a "window of opportunity" for hormone therapy to be effective for prevention is being tested in a five-year study of peri-menopausal women ages 45 to 54. Funded by the Kronos Longevity Research Institute, the study is evaluating an oral tablet containing estrogen, a skin patch delivering estrogen and a placebo.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>