Post-Menopausal Hormones Mitigates Effects of Stress on Cortisol and Working Memory

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Department of Psychology University of Southern California Los Angeles, Ca 90089

Dr. Herrera

Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar
Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Department of Psychology
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, Ca 90089 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ​Previous research has shown that estradiol treatment after menopause can reduce the stress response when exposed to a stressor, including the cortisol response to stress. Other work has shown that stress can impair certain types of memory​. We wanted to test whether post-menopause estradiol treatment would not only attenuate the cortisol response to stress, but if it could also reduce the negative effects of stress on memory. In particular, we tested the effects on a type of memory called working memory. Working memory allows us to maintain and update information we need to readily access in short-term memory. For example, imagine you stop at the grocery store after work and only have a mental list of the items you need to make dinner. Working memory is the memory type engaged in helping you maintain and update your mental list of items as you grab items off the shelves and check them off your list.

We recruited women through the Early versus Late Intervention Trial with Estradiol, a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Women who participated in our study had received nearly 5 years of either estradiol or placebo.

We found that women receiving estradiol showed significantly smaller cortisol responses to stress and less of an effect of stress on working memory than women that had been receiving placebo.

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Study Finds 5-7 Years Post-Menopausal Hormone Therapy Not Associated with Increased Risk of Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Professor of Medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts  02215

Dr. Manson

JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH
Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine and the
Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts  02215 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The current report provides new information on total mortality and the rates of death from specific causes (cardiovascular disease, cancer, other major illnesses) over 18 years of follow-up in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) randomized trials of hormone therapy (estrogen + progestin and estrogen alone). This is the first WHI report to focus on all-cause and cause-specific mortality. It includes all of the 27,347 women in the 2 hormone therapy trials with >98% follow-up over 18 years, during which time 7,489 deaths occurred. This is more than twice as many deaths as were included in earlier reports. The report also provides detailed information on differences in results by age group (ages 50-59, 60-69, 70-79) at time of study enrollment.

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Cross-Sex Hormone Therapy Associated With Medical Risks and Psychosocial Benefits in Transgender Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carl G Streed Jr. M.D. Pronouns: he, him, his, himself Fellow, Division General Internal Medicine & Primary Care Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Dr. Streed

Carl G Streed Jr. M.D.
Pronouns: he, him, his, himself
Fellow, Division General Internal Medicine & Primary Care
Brigham & Women’s Hospital 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent reports estimate that 0.6% of adults in the United States, or approximately 1.4 million persons, identify as transgender. Despite gains in rights and media attention, the reality is that transgender persons experience health disparities, and a dearth of research and evidence-based guidelines remains regarding their specific health needs. The lack of research to characterize cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD risk factors in transgender populations receiving cross-sex hormone therapy (CSHT) limits appropriate primary and specialty care. As with hormone therapy in cisgender persons (that is, those whose sex assigned at birth aligns with their gender identity), existing research in transgender populations suggests that CVD risk factors are altered by CSHT.

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Menopausal Hormone Therapy Benefits Bone Health For Several Years After Discontinuation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Georgios Papadakis FMH, Médecin InternenMédecin assistant Service d'endocrinologie, diabétologie et métabolisme Lausanne

Dr Georgios Papadakis

Dr Georgios Papadakis
FMH, Médecin InternenMédecin assistant
Service d’endocrinologie, diabétologie et métabolisme
Lausanne

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study was mainly motivated by the absence of available data on the effect of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) on bone microarchitecture, as well as contradictory results of previous trials regarding the persistence of a residual effect after MHT withdrawal.

We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 1279 postmenopausal women aged 50-80 years participating in OsteoLaus cohort of Lausanne University Hospital. Participants had bone mineral density (BMD) measurement by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at lumbar spine, femoral neck and total hip, as well as assessment of trabecular bone score (TBS), a textural index that evaluates pixel grey-level variations in the lumbar spine DXA image, providing an indirect index of trabecular microarchitecture.

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Hormone Combination Effective For Male Contraception But With Many Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mario Philip Reyes Festin, MD

World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland. 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Researchers are trying to identify a hormonal male contraceptive that is effective, reversible, safe, acceptable, affordable, and available. Most of the research has been done either by groups of university researchers. However, in the 1990s, WHO undertook two multi-center, multinational studies.

The studies were unable to provide evidence to support the development of a commercially viable, and user-acceptable product.

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Androgen Deprivation For Prostate Cancer Linked to Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kevin T. Nead, MD, MPhil

Resident, Radiation Oncology
Perelman School of Medicine
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Androgen deprivation therapy is a primary treatment for prostate cancer and works by lowering testosterone levels. There is a strong body of research suggesting that low testosterone can negatively impact neurovascular health and function. We were therefore interested in whether androgen deprivation therapy is associated with dementia through an adverse impact on underlying neurovascular function.

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Abuse of Anabolic Steroids May Impair Insulin Resistance For Years After Discontinuation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jon Rasmussen, MD, PhD fellow
Department of Internal Medicine
Herlev Hospital, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids has become highly prevalent among young men involved in recreational strength training. A recent meta-analysis estimated that approximately 18% of young men involved recreational strength training abuse anabolic steroids.

Well-known adverse effects following abuse of anabolic steroids include hypogonadism (For those who have interest, we have recently published a paper concerning this issue, it can be read and downloaded at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161208).

Yet, we have a poor understanding on the adverse effects these compounds might have on the metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

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Estrogen Patch in Newly Postmenopausal Women May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S. Professor of Radiology Division of Neuroradiology

Dr. Kejal Kantarci

Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S.
Professor of Radiology
Division of Neuroradiology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: A rapid decline in estrogen with menopause may be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease risk in women. This study was conducted in newly postmenopausal women who received 17β-Estradiol via a skin patch or conjugated equine estrogen orally or placebo.

Those who received 17β-Estradiol patch had reduced β-amyloid deposits, the plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, three years after the end of the hormone therapies.

In the study, women with APOE e4 — one form of the most common gene associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease — who received the 17β-Estradiol patch had lower levels of β-amyloid deposits than those who received placebo.

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Early Menopause Raises Risk of Postmenopausal Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eleni Petridou, MD, MPH, PhD
Marios K. Georgakis, MD
Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics
School of Medicine
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Athens, Greece

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous epidemiologic studies have shown that women during their reproductive life are more vulnerable (by a factor of two) to depression than men; this has been particularly evident during peaks of intense fluctuations of ovarian hormones, like the premenstrual, perimenopausal and postpartum periods. Endogenous (natural) female sex hormones, however, have been shown in various experimental studies to possess neuroprotective and anti-depressive properties. Production of these hormones is diminished after menopause; therefore, age at menopause can be used as a proxy of the lifetime exposure to endogenous hormones. Our research hypothesis was whether longer exposure to endogenous sex hormones has a cumulative anti-depressive action, i.e., whether later age at menopause decreases the risk for postmenopausal depression.

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Study Finds Women Who Take Anticoagulants Can Use Hormonal Therapy

Ida Martinelli MD, PhD A Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico Milan, Italy

Dr. Martinelli

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ida Martinelli MD, PhD
A Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center
Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico
Milan, Italy 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Martinelli: Hormonal therapies are associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism. Patients with acute deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism require anticoagulation, but women of childbearing potential require also an adequate contraception, as oral anticoagulants cross the placenta potentially leading to embryopathy or fetal bleeding. This study was aimed to evaluate the safety of hormonal therapies together with anticoagulant therapies in terms of recurrent venous thrombosis and uterine bleeding. We demonstrated for the first time that women who take oral anticoagulants can safely use hormonal therapies, as their risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism or uterine bleeding is not increased.

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Postmenopausal Hormones Linked To Decreased Colon Cancer Risk

Dr. Hannah Arem Ph.D. M.H.S. Postdoctoral Fellow Nutritional Epidemiology Branch Division Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Hannah Arem Ph.D. M.H.S.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Nutritional Epidemiology Branch
Division Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
National Cancer Institute

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Arem: In the United States, men are more likely to develop colorectal cancer (CRC) than women. In large prospective studies, researchers observed that women who reported taking menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) containing estrogen had a 30-40% lower risk of colorectal cancer, compared to women who did not report menopausal hormone therapy use, suggesting an anti-carcinogenic role for estrogen.

We investigated the relationship between estrogen exposure (hormonal and reproductive factors) in relation to survival (risk of death) among women diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Dr. Arem: We found a 20% lower risk of death overall among women who reported current menopausal hormone therapy use at study entry (HR=0.79, 95% CI 0.66-0.94) and a 24% lower risk of death from colorectal cancer (0.76, 0.59-0.99), compared to women who reported never using menopausal hormone therapy.

Among women in our study, we observed no statistically significant associations for colorectal cancer mortality with oral contraceptive use, menarche age, age at first birth, parity, or menopausal age.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Arem: Our study was designed to investigate a mechanistic role for estrogen on carcinogenesis for research purposes. We do not expect these findings to influence clinical practice or behavior.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Arem: Future studies should focus on the mechanisms by which exogenous estrogen exposure might affect tumor progression and colorectal cancer survival.

Citation:

Reproductive and hormonal factors and mortality among women with colorectal cancer in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study

H Arem, Y Park, A S Felix, A Zervoudakis, L A Brinton, C E Matthews and M J Gunter

British Journal of Cancer , (23 June 2015) | doi:10.1038/bjc.2015.224

 

 

Dr. Hannah Arem Ph.D. M.H.S. Postdoctoral Fellow (2015). Postmenopausal Hormones Linked To Decreased Colon Cancer Risk 

Long-Term Androgen Deprivation Plus Radiation For High Risk Prostate Cancer

Almudena Zapatero MD PhD Senior Consultant Dpt Radiation Oncology Instituto Investigación Sanitaria IIS-IP Hospital Universitario de la Princesa MadridMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Almudena Zapatero MD PhD

Senior Consultant Dpt Radiation Oncology
Instituto Investigación Sanitaria IIS-IP
Hospital Universitario de la Princesa
Madrid


Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Zapatero: There is a significant body of evidence from randomized trials showing a significant improvement in clinical outcome with the combination of androgen deprivation and conventional-dose radiotherapy (≤70 Gy) in patients with high-risk and intermediate-risk prostate cancer. However, the optimal duration the optimum duration of androgen deprivation in the setting of high-dose radiotherapy remained to be determined.

The results of our trial (DART01/05) show that 2 years of adjuvant androgen deprivation is superior to 4 months androgen deprivation when combined with plus high-dose radiotherapy  in terms of biochemical control, freedom from metastasis and overall survival, particularly in patients with high-risk prostate cancer.

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Prostate Cancer: Androgen Deprivation Therapy May Be Harmful For Some Men

David R. Ziehr B.S., MD Candidate Harvard Medical SchoolMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David R. Ziehr B.S., MD Candidate
Harvard Medical School

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), commonly achieved with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists or antagonists, is a mainstay of prostate cancer therapy. While randomized controlled trials demonstrate that ADT improves survival among men with unfavorable risk prostate cancer, retrospective studies have suggested that some men with comorbid illnesses such as heart disease may not derive a benefit from—or may even be harmed by—ADT. However, the nature of this harm has not been characterized. We studied over 5000 men with prostate cancer who were treated with brachytherapy (implanted radioactive seeds) with or without ADT. We analyzed the men based on pre-treatment cardiac comorbidity and examined the association between ADT and death from cardiac causes. We found that among men with congestive heart failure or a past myocardial infarction (MI), Androgen deprivation therapy was associated with a three-times greater risk of death from heart disease. However, Androgen deprivation therapy was not associated with greater risk of cardiac mortality in men without heart disease or with a risk factor for heart disease, such as diabetes, hypertension or hyperlipidemia.
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Hormone Replacement Therapy Found Protective of Hip, Knee Joint Replacements

Professor Nigel Arden Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences Botnar Research Centre Windmill Road Oxford  OX3 7LDMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Nigel Arden
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences
Botnar Research Centre
Oxford  OX3 7LD

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Professor Arden: We found that in a cohort of women who had used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and underwent knee or hip replacement their risk of implant revision was reduced by about 40% compared to non-users of HRT.
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Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Health Outcomes

JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Professor of Medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health Harvard Medical School 900 Commonwealth Avenue , 3rd fl Boston , Massachusetts   02215 MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH
Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine and the
Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health
Harvard Medical School
Boston , Massachusetts   02215

WHI investigators publish most comprehensive report to date on the two Hormone Therapy Trials and extend follow-up to 13 years: Results inform clinical decision making

Researchers from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Hormone Therapy (HT) Trials provide new information from extended follow-up of postmenopausal women in the two HT trials (estrogen plus progestin and estrogen alone) and the most comprehensive look at the findings to date. The study, published October 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, presents information on a wide range of diseases and quality-of-life outcomes, comparisons of the two trials side-by-side, and a full breakdown of results by age and time since menopause onset. The WHI, which enrolled 27,347 women nation-wide in the two hormone therapy trials, is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

“Our main goal was to provide as much information as possible from the WHI hormone therapy trials to help women and their clinicians make the most informed decisions about hormone therapy use. The WHI findings, presented in detail by age group and time since menopause onset, help to guide clinical decision making,”, said JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, first author of the report and Chief of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Manson is one of the Principal Investigators of the WHI and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School .

 

Key findings of the report are that hormone therapy has a complex pattern of health risks and benefits and that younger women tend to have a more favorable risk-to-benefit profile than older women. The researchers also found that combination estrogen plus progestin (in women with an intact uterus) had more risks than estrogen alone (used in women with hysterectomy), primarily due to an increased risk of breast cancer with the former but not the latter. Both forms of hormone therapy increased the risk of stroke, blood clots in the legs, gallstones, and urinary incontinence, while benefits included decreased risk of hip fractures, other fractures, diabetes, and hot flashes/night sweats. Estrogen plus progestin increased dementia (in women >65 years), but neither treatment affected cognition in younger women. For estrogen alone, younger women (ages 50-59) had more favorable results for all-cause mortality, heart attacks, and colorectal cancer, and their overall risk-to-benefit profile on estrogen alone was more favorable than for older women.  Effects on quality-of-life outcomes with HT were mixed, with improvement in sleep and joint pain but increases in breast tendernes.

After stopping hormone therapy, most risks and benefits of hormone therapy dissipated. However, over the 13-yr cumulative follow-up period, breast cancer risk remained slightly elevated for estrogen plus progestin but became significantly reduced for estrogen alone. For estrogen plus progestin, a significant reduction in uterine (endometrial) cancer emerged during follow up and the risk of hip fracture remained significantly (but modestly) reduced. For both forms of hormone therapy, there was no significant increase or decrease in the rate of total cancer (all types combined), cancer mortality, cardiovascular mortality, or all-cause mortality in the overall study population.

 

The researchers conclude that the findings from the two WHI trials do not support use of hormone therapy for prevention of chronic disease, but treatment is appropriate for symptom management in some women. The absolute risks of adverse events in younger women are lower than in older women, menopausal symptoms are more common in younger age groups, and the quality-of-life benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for many women who seek treatment for symptoms during the menopause transition.  “Short-term use of hormone therapy to manage moderate-to-severe hot flashes or other symptoms in early menopause remains appropriate,  A clear distinction between the use of hormone therapy for symptom management in women with indications for treatment and its use for the purpose of chronic disease prevention is essential,” added Manson.  “Although studies of other hormone therapy formulations , doses, and routes of delivery are needed to find treatments with fewer risks, these medications are now among the best studied treatments in medical history. Clinicians can share information from the WHI trials with their patients and help them make more informed choices.”

Citation:

Manson JE, Chlebowski RT, Stefanick ML, et al. Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Health Outcomes During the Intervention and Extended Poststopping Phases of the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Trials. JAMA. 2013;310(13):1353-1368. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.278040.

Parkinson’s Disease: Sudden Drop in Testosterone may Trigger Symptoms

 Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D.  The Floyd A. Davis, M.D., Endowed Chair of Neurology Professor Departments of Neurological Sciences, Biochemistry and Pharmacology Rush University Medical Center 1735 West Harrison St, Suite 320 Chicago, IL 60612MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D.

The Floyd A. Davis, M.D., Endowed Chair of Neurology
Professor
Departments of Neurological Sciences, Biochemistry and Pharmacology
Rush University Medical Center
1735 West Harrison St, Suite 320 Chicago, IL 60612

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Pahan: While different toxins and a number of complex genetic approaches are used to model Parkinson’s disease in mice, this study delineates that simple castration is sufficient to cause persistent Parkinson’s like pathology and symptoms in male mice. This simple, but persistent, model may be helpful in discovering drugs against Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, these results suggest that sudden drop of testosterone level could trigger Parkinson’s disease.
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Symptomatic reduction in free testosterone levels secondary to crizotinib use in male cancer patients.

MedicalResearch.com eInterview with
Andrew Weickhardt, MBBS, DMedSc, FRACP

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Weickhardt: The study was hoping to confirm our earlier published observation that crizotinib use led to low testosterone in male patients. The earlier study was based on our observation of symptoms of low testosterone in some patients treated with the drug, and had suggested strongly that crizotinib led to rapid decrease in testosterone levels, however this was based only on a single center’s patients, and only 19 patients. We hoped to do this by surveying a larger population of crizotinib treated patients across multiple institutions. We serially measured several relevant hormones.
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Study finds estrogen may prevent younger menopausal women from strokes

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Estrogen may prevent strokes in premature or early menopausal women, Mayo Clinic researchers say. Their findings challenge the conventional wisdom that estrogen is a risk factor for stroke at all ages. The study was published in the journal Menopause.

Researchers combined the results from a recent Mayo Clinic study with six other studies from across the world and found that estrogen is protective for stroke before age 50. That is roughly the average age when women go through menopause.

“We were very surprised because these results were unexpected,” says study author Walter Rocca, M.D., an epidemiologist and neurologist at Mayo Clinic. “The old idea that estrogen is always a problem in the brain has to be corrected.” Estrogen can be a problem in older women, he explains, but in younger women, estrogen may be important to protect the brain from strokes.

The study has implications for women who experience premature (before age 40) or early menopause (before age 45) from natural causes or from ovary removal. Women in these groups should consider taking estrogen up to approximately age 50 to prevent stroke, Dr. Rocca says.

Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. According to the American Stroke Association, these types of strokes account for 87 percent of all stroke cases.

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Co-authors of the study include: Brandon Grossardt, M.S.; Virginia Miller, Ph.D.; Lynne Shuster, M.D.; Robert Brown, Jr., M.D.

Estrogen Effects on Metabolism & Weight Gain in Women Studied

It’s no secret that women often gain weight as they get older. The sex hormone estrogen has an important, if underappreciated, role to play in those burgeoning waistlines.

Now, researchers reporting in the October Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, have traced those hormonal effects on metabolism to different parts of the brain. The findings may lead to the development of highly selective hormone replacement therapies that could be used to combat obesity or infertility in women without the risks for heart disease and breast cancer, the researchers say.

“When women approach menopause, they gain weight in fat and their energy expenditure goes down,” says Deborah Clegg of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Estrogen levels decline and women grow increasingly susceptible to obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Estrogen acts on receptors found throughout the body, in fat, on ovaries and in muscle. But when it comes to the hormone’s influence on metabolism, Clegg suspected receptors in the brain.

Others had traced the effects of estrogen on energy balance specifically to estrogen receptor-α (ERα). When her team deleted those receptors from the entire brains of mice, “we got very, very fat mice,” Clegg said. The animals consumed more calories and burned less.

The researchers showed female mice lacking ERα in one part of the brain (the hypothalamic steroidogenic factor-1 or SF1 neurons) gained weight without eating any more. Loss of ERα from another brain area (the hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin or POMC neurons) had the opposite effect: animals ate more without gaining weight. Loss of ERα receptors in those same neurons also led to various problems in ovulation and fertility.

The findings suggest that drugs developed to specifically target estrogen receptors in the brain might offer a useful alternative to hormone replacement therapies that hit receptors throughout the body. The researchers say they would like to continue to isolate other estrogen-related effects and symptoms, for instance, on hot flashes and cognition.

“The more we know about estrogen’s sites of action, the more likely it is we could develop designer hormone replacement therapies targeting tissue X, Y or Z,” Clegg said.

Hormone therapy may be hazardous for men with heart conditions

Fairfax, Va., July 26, 2011 – Adding hormone therapy to radiation therapy has been proven in randomized clinical trials to improve overall survival for men with intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer. However, adding hormone therapy may reduce overall survival in men with pre-existing heart conditions, even if they have high-risk prostate cancer according to a new study just published online in advance of print in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics, the official scientific journal of ASTRO.

From 1991 to 2006, 14,594 men with prostate cancer were treated with brachytherapy-based radiation therapy. Of these, 1,378 (9.4 percent) had a history of congestive heart failure or myocardial infarction. Among these men with heart conditions, 22.6 percent received supplemental external beam radiation therapy and 42.9 percent received four months of androgen deprivation therapy to reduce testosterone in their bodies, which can help the cancer grow.

For the entire group of men with a history of heart problems, adding hormone therapy led to a significant increase in overall mortality. For men with pre-existing heart conditions and high-risk prostate cancer, researchers found that by 5 years, 31.8 percent of the men who received hormones had died compared to 19.5 percent of the men who did not receive hormone therapy.

“We found that for men with localized prostate cancer and a history of heart problems, treatment with hormones plus radiation was associated with a higher all-cause mortality than treatment with radiation alone, even for patients with high-risk malignant disease,” Paul L. Nguyen, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, said. “Despite Phase III data supporting hormone therapy use for men with high-risk disease, the subgroup of men with a history of heart disease may be harmed by hormone therapy.”

He added, “Future research is necessary to understand the mechanisms of this effect. In the meantime, I encourage men with prostate cancer and a history of heart disease to talk to their doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy.”