Based on a review of research in postmenopausal women and monkeys, Thomas B. Clarkson, D.V.M., of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, believes that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has a beneficial role in slowing heart vessel disease after menopause. Clarkson addressed the Third World Congress on Controversies in Obstetrics, Gynecology & Infertility in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
"Mounting evidence points to the conclusion that HRT can help prevent heart vessel disease – if the therapy begins around the time that the body stops making its own estrogen," said Clarkson. "The question may not be if estrogen helps, but when is the optimum time to begin therapy."
Clarkson, a professor of comparative medicine, reviewed studies that evaluated the cardiovascular effects of HRT. Included were four large trials of postmenopausal monkeys conducted at Wake Forest over the past 12 years. When estrogen replacement was administered at the onset of estrogen deficiency – which compares to the postmenopausal transition in women – there was a 70 percent inhibition of fatty build-up in the heart’s arteries. In contrast, when estrogen replacement was delayed for a period comparable to six years in women, there was no benefit on the heart’s arteries.
Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
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