Researchers led by Dr Erik Debing at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium examined the levels of sex hormones in natural post-menopausal women (i.e. those not taking hormone replacement therapy) and their association with the presence of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition where the arteries become hardened and blocked by the deposition of substances such as cholesterol. It is commonly seen as a precursor to heart disease. The research team examined 56 post-menopausal women who had atherosclerosis of the carotid artery (the artery that supplies blood to the head and neck) and compared the levels of sex hormones in their blood with 56 age-matched controls.
While they found no significant difference between the levels of other sex hormones, women with atherosclerosis had significantly lower testosterone levels than women who were free from the disease (0.23±0.12 vs. 0.31±0.20 µg/l). Even after the researchers had controlled for other risk factors associated with heart disease (such as diet, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes), the relationship between low testosterone levels and atherosclerosis remained strong.
Although the hormone testosterone is usually associated with men, women also produce some testosterone, mainly from their ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone performs many essential functions in the bodies of both men and women including maintaining muscle strength and bone density. While statistics show that the risk of heart disease increases in post-menopausal compared to pre-menopausal women, the reasons for this have remained unclear.
Traditionally seen as a male disease, heart disease is now one of the leading causes of death in post-menopausal women in Europe. This is the first time that a case-control study has been carried out, directly comparing the levels of sex hormones in post-menopausal women with and without atherosclerosis of the carotid artery. Further work is now required to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms behind this relationship and the implications for health provision.
Researcher Dr Erik Debing said:
“This is the first time that a case-control study has found that post-menopausal women with athlerosclerosis have lower testosterone levels. Athlerosclerosis is the main precursor to heart disease, one of the major causes of death in post-menopausal women. Our work suggests that higher levels of testosterone may have a protective role against atherosclerosis in women who have undergone the menopause.
This research represents an important step forward in our understanding of the causes of atherosclerosis and will allow us to develop more effective treatments and advice. We now need to carry out further research to examine why low testosterone levels in post-menopausal women may predispose them to develop cardiovascular disease.”
Jennie Evans | alfa
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.05.2017 | Statistics