Aging, Author Interviews, JAMA, Menopause, USPSTF / 09.11.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Stevermer, M.D., M.S.P.H. Vice chair for clinical affairs Professor of family and community medicine University of Missouri Medical director of MU Health Care Family Medicine–Callaway Physicians, Dr. Stevermer joined the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force in January 2021. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As people get older, they are more at risk for many chronic conditions like heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes. It’s unclear how much menopause—which typically occurs around age 50—contributes to this risk. Although we all want to stay healthy as we age, the Task Force does not recommend that people who have already gone through menopause use hormone therapy to prevent chronic health problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Menopause / 05.08.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jean Shin Department of Family Medicine Korea University College of Medicine Seoul,Republic of Korea

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

Response: Younger age at menopause is a possible risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. However, data on the association among premature menopause, age at menopause, and the risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation are lacking. We aimed to examine the association of premature menopause and age at menopause with the risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation.  (more…)

AHA Journals, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Dental Research, Menopause / 07.03.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH Research Professor (epidemiology) Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health School of Public Health and Health Professions Women’s Health Initiative Northeast Regional Center University at Buffalo – SUNY Buffalo, NY 14214 MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Dr. LaMonte:  The rationale for this study was based on existing study results showing
  • (1) oral bacteria are involved with conversion of dietary nitrate (e.g., from leafy greens and beets) to nitric oxide which is a chemical involved keeping arteries healthy and maintaining blood pressure;
  • (2) rinsing the mouth with antiseptic solution (mouthwash) kills oral bacteria and results in rapid increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure; and
  • (3) a very limited amount of epidemiological data suggest that the oral bacteria found beneath the gums (responsible for gingivitis and periodontal disease) are associated with blood pressure and history of hypertension in middle-aged adults.
Thus, we conducted our study to determine whether oral bacteria (beneath the gums) would be predictive of developing hypertension among women who were without this condition at the time the bacteria were measured. Because the bacteria (exposure) would be known to precede development of hypertension (disease), an association seen in our study would be strongly suggestive of a role for oral bacteria in the development of high blood pressure. Our primary result was for statistically significant higher risks of developing hypertension associated with 10 bacterial species, and significantly lower risks of developing hypertension associated with 5 bacterial species. Our findings were evident even after we accounted for differences in demographic factors, lifestyle factors, and clinical factors, and generally were of consistent magnitudes we examined across subgroups of older and younger women, white and black women, normal weight and overweight/obese women, those with normal or slightly elevated blood pressure at study enrollment, and those who were using or not using menopausal hormone therapy at baseline. Therefore, while our observational study evidence for an association is not equivalent to causation, the robustness of the associations between oral bacteria and hypertension risk supports a need to further understand this relationship, ideally with a clinical trial design that would provide definitive evidence to support or refute causation.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Menopause, Osteoporosis / 12.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yeonyee E. Yoon, MD, PhD Associate Professor Division of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Center Seoul National University Bundang Hospital South Korea  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) has been traditionally considered to affect men predominantly, it is nearly common in women. ASCVD is the leading cause of death in both men and women globally, and the population-adjusted risk of ASCVD mortality in women is significantly greater than that in men. Nevertheless, the current focus on the 10-year ASCVD risk estimated by a risk-scoring algorithm such as the Pooled Cohort Equation has shown unsatisfactory accuracy in women. Therefore, new strategies beyond the conventional risk stratification algorithm are needed to improve identification for women at high risk for ASCVD. ASCVD and osteoporosis are major age-related diseases contributing to significant morbidity and mortality in women, and previous epidemiologic studies have suggested a potential association between these diseases. Given that millions of women are screened for osteoporosis using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), potential associations between low bone mineral density (BMD) and ASCVD in women would provide an opportunity to improve the risk stratification of women without any additional costs. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether the evaluation of BMD provides independent and incremental prognostic values for ASCVD prediction in women.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Menopause, Orthopedics, Osteoporosis, UCLA / 05.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carolyn Crandall, M.D. Professor, Medicine Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previously-published studies had not examined in detail the risk of subsequent fractures after initial fractures in a large national sample of women in the us. Clinical guidelines mostly emphasize initial hip and spine fractures, but they do not emphasize fractures of other types.  We hypothesized that subsequent fracture risk would be higher after initial fracture even at locations other than the hip or the spine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, JAMA, Menopause / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Duke Appiah, Ph.D., MPH Assistant Professor,Public Health Texas Tech University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reports from several countries point towards increasing trends in age at natural menopause. However, epidemiological report from the United States on the long-term trends in age at natural menopause or reproductive life span among a nationally representative sample of women is lacking. Understanding changes in the timing of age at natural menopause and length of the reproductive life span and their associated factors are important. For instance, earlier age at natural menopause is reported to be associated with cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases and osteoporosis while later onset of menopause has been associated with the occurrence of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. Similarly, longer durations of reproductive life span are associated with reduced morbidity and mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, Insomnia, Menopause, Sleep Disorders, Weight Research / 23.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leilah K. Grant, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prevalence of obesity increases in women around the age of menopause which increases the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Changes in hormones, like estrogen, are thought to contribute to weight gain during menopause, but other common symptoms of menopause such as sleep interruption may also play a role. While short sleep is known to adversely affect metabolism, little is known about the metabolic consequences of the type of sleep disruption most common in menopausal women – increased nighttime awakenings (i.e., sleep interruption) caused by hot flashes, but no change in overall sleep duration. We therefore did this study to see how an experimental model menopause-related sleep interruption would affect metabolic outcomes that may contribute to weight gain.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Menopause, Urology / 15.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lin Yang, PhD Research Scientist/Epidemiologist Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Cancer Care Alberta | Alberta Health Services | Canada Adjunct Assistant Professor Departments of Oncology and Community Health Sciences University of Calgary | Canada  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Urinary incontinence disproportionately affects women. Urinary incontinence results in significant physical, social, and psychological adverse consequences that impair women’s quality of life and contribute to considerable healthcare costs. At the moment, the contemporary prevalence and recent trends in urinary incontinence in US women are unknown. More importantly, there is a growing awareness that urinary incontinence is not part of normal aging, but very little information is available to inform prevention strategies. Therefore, we were also interested in exploring correlates of urinary incontinence in a population-based sample of US women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, MD Anderson, Menopause, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 04.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samar El Khoudary, PhD, MPH, BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Research increasingly shows that it isn’t so important how much fat a woman is carrying, which doctors typically measure using weight and BMI, as it is where she is carrying that fat. To investigate this, we looked at 25 years of data on 362 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago who participated in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Heart study. The women, who were an average age of 51, had their visceral adipose tissue—fat surrounding the abdominal organs—measured by CT scan and the thickness of the internal carotid artery lining in their neck measured by ultrasound, at a few points during the study. Carotid artery thickness is an early indicator of heart disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Environmental Risks, JCEM, Menopause / 05.06.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ning Ding MPH, PhD candidate Sung Kyun Park Sc.D, MPH Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology University of Michigan School of Public Health Ann Arbor, MI 48109  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as ‘forever chemicals’, are a family of synthetic chemicals used in a wide variety of nonstick and waterproof products and firefighting foams. The main issue is that PFAS are everywhere. It has been estimated that 110 million Americans, 1 out of three, may consume drinking water contaminated with PFAS. PFAS are very persistent and once PFAS enter the body, they don't break down and build up in the body over time. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Menopause, Race/Ethnic Diversity, University of Pittsburgh / 05.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samar R. El Khoudary, M.D., M.P.H. Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Saad Samargandy, M.P.H. Ph.D. Student University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Research findings suggest that women experience adverse changes in multiple clinical measures of their cardiovascular health during the menopause transition period. We were interested in evaluating the timing of critical changes in arterial stiffness and investigating potential racial differences in how arterial stiffness progresses during the menopause transition. Arterial stiffness refers to the elasticity of arteries and it measures the rate at which blood flows through arteries. Stiffer arteries can lead to dysfunction in how well the heart pumps and moves blood, and damage to the heart, kidneys and other organs. We used a subset of data from SWAN Heart, an ancillary study that enrolled women from Pittsburgh and Chicago between 2001 and 2003 and included two examinations of early markers of cardiovascular health over time. Ultimately, 339 women were included in this study, 36% black and the rest white. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, Hip Fractures, JAMA, Menopause / 28.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jean Wactawski-Wende PhD Dean, SUNY Distinguished Professor Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health School of Public Health and Health Professions University of Buffalo MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study included data from the Women’s Health Initiative, a prospective study of postmenopausal women from across the United States. We assessed physical activity in 77,206 women over an average of 14 years of follow-up. Approximately 1/3 of these women (average age 63.4 years) had at least one fracture occur. Higher physical activity levels were associated with  lower risk of hip and total fracture. Even levels of activity that were moderate, including regular walking and doing household chores, were beneficial.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Menopause / 25.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John Bark, PhD Student Behavioral Neuroscience Program Department of Psychology University of Illinois at Chicago  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: 80% of women undergoing menopause experience vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.   40-60% of women in menopause experience sleep problem.  Both of these symptoms of menopause have been associated with cognitive difficulties, but to my knowledge, this is the first study to use objective assessments of sleep and vasomotor symptoms to understand their effects on the brain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Menopause / 18.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Sopio Tatulashvili Avicenne Hospital Bobigny, FranceDr Sopio Tatulashvili Avicenne Hospital Bobigny, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Diabetes and pre-diabetes are associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Early screening and the treatment of glucose metabolism disorders could lower the risk of further complications. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. For this purpose, it is of major importance to better identify the risk factors of type 2 diabetes. Hormonal factors are increasingly suspected to play a role in the etiology of type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was to determine the associations between various hormonal factors and the risk of incident type 2 diabetes in the large prospective female E3N (Etude Épidémiologique de Femmes de la Mutuelle Générale de L’Education Nationale) cohort study. Based on a very detailed set of information available in 83,799 women from the large prospective E3N cohort study followed for 22 years, we have been able to clarify the relationships between various hormonal factors and type 2 diabetes risk.   (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Menopause, Weight Research / 25.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yangbo Sun  MD, PhD Department of Epidemiology University of Iowa Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology College of Public Health, University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 52242 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity has become a serious health problem in the United States. Body mass index (BMI) which is calculated as weight (kg)/height (m)2, is the standard measure used to define obesity in clinical and public health guidelines. However, BMI does not distinguish body shape or body fat distribution. Meanwhile central obesity, characterized by relatively high abdominal fat distribution, has been associated with higher risk of mortality, independent of BMI. So for example, two persons with the same BMI of 24 which is considered as “normal weight”, might have different abdominal fat distribution, thus they might be facing different risk of developing disease and mortality. In the most recent obesity management guidelines, measuring central obesity was recommended among people who are either overweight or have class I obesity (BMI 25.0-34.9 kg/m2), but not among people of normal weight. This might send those people with normal weight but with high abdominal fat as well as those public and clinical professionals a wrong message that these people are free of any particular obesity-related risk, while in fact, they are at elevated risk of mortality and might need risk reduction interventions, such as lifestyle modifications and other interventions. So we did this study to evaluate the mortality risk among this neglected group of people. We found that women with normal weight central obesity were at increased risk of mortality. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Gender Differences, Hormone Therapy, JAMA, Menopause, Weight Research / 05.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel Zsido PhD student Department of Neurology International Max Planck MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We integrated measures of brain network structure, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), serum estradiol levels, and cognitive performance from 974 participants in order to shed light on potential mechanisms underlying cognitive health. We believe it is imperative to assess sex-specific risk trajectories in brain aging and cognitive decline, especially given the known sex differences in both VAT accumulation patterns and estradiol fluctuations across the lifespan. Thus, we aimed to answer three questions in men and in women: 1) Does visceral adipose tissue exacerbate the association between age and brain network structure, 2) Does estradiol mitigate the negative association between VAT and brain network structure, and 3) What does this imply for healthy cognitive aging in men and women?  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Endocrinology, Heart Disease, Hormone Therapy, Menopause, Thromboembolism / 11.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yana Vinogradova, PhD Research Fellow Department of Primary Care School of Medicine University of Nottingham University Park, Nottingham MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The study targeted middle age women going through menopause.  This is the stage of life when women naturally reach the end of their reproductive life and their hormones gradually decrease.  Some women experience unpleasant effects such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, memory and concentration loss, headaches.  Quality of life may be severely affected.  Hormone replacement therapy uses a class of drugs, which, like all drugs, have side effects.   VTE is a serious side effect which can have a lethal outcome. There are different preparations of hormones available for such women.  Some of them were extensively studied in a large American Trial Women’s Health Initiative and showed the risk of VTE to be twice as high for women who took them.  However, these well-studied drugs are mostly prescribed in America.  The more popular drugs in Europe and the UK have been much less studied, so it was unclear how they compared.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Menopause, Mental Health Research / 02.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicole J. Gervais, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow | Einstein lab University of Toronto, Department of Psychology Toronto, ON  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) including letrozole are given as an adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Women taking this drug have reported a number of symptoms including hot flashes, memory complaints and mood changes. However, not all studies report memory issues. This might be due to the fact that studies in this population are hampered by confounds, such as chemotherapy/radiotherapy, stress and disease stage, all of which can also adversely impact memory. These confounds make it challenging to observe the independent effects of AIs on memory. By using a non-human primate model, we were able to examine the effects of aromatase inhibition on these symptoms as well as brain function without these confounding effects. (more…)
Author Interviews, Menopause, Sleep Disorders / 15.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sooyeon Suh, PhD Department of Psychology Sungshin University Seoul, Republic of Korea MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Women who are going through menopause frequently complain of sleep complaints and depressive symptoms in addition to other typical symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Two of the most common ways of becoming menopausal are through natural menopause and surgical menopause. While natural menopause is usually experienced in the course of aging, surgical menopause is usually induced by OBGYN surgery such as bilateral oopherectomy, often as a result of illnesses such as ovarian cancer. Many studies have found that women who experience surgical menopause often experience more psychological and physical difficulties compared to women who transition through menopause naturally due to a more acute drop in estrogen following surgery, it sometimes leads to the need for practices like Advanced Gynecology to help manage the symptoms. Unfortunately, in clinical settings, women who undergo surgical menopause are not provided with additional psychoeducation or customized treatment to address these issues. The main findings of these studies support these issues. In 526 postmenopausal women, women who went through surgical menopause reported significantly worse sleep quality an shorter sleep duration. Additionally, they had a 2.13 times higher likelihood of having insomnia that warranted treatment. Finally, even though women who went through surgical menopause engaged in the same sleep-interfering behaviors (e.g., drinking caffeine, drinking alcohol before bed, watching TV in bed, etc) as women who went through menopause naturally, their sleep was impacted more negatively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Kaiser Permanente, Menopause, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 30.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Allison L. Naleway, PhD Senior Investigator Associate Director, Science Programs Center for Health Research Kaiser Permanente MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reports of premature menopause after human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination have received a lot of media attention, including on social media, but these reports were based on a small number of isolated cases. Large studies have demonstrated the safety of HPV vaccination, but parental safety concerns—including potential impact on future fertility—are often cited as one reason for lower HPV coverage. Rates of HPV vaccination have lagged behind coverage rates for other recommended adolescent vaccinations, such as tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis and meningococcal conjugate. (Based on national coverage estimates from 2016, 65% of 13–17 year-old females received at least one HPV vaccination and only 49.5% were up to date with the series, compared to about 88% of adolescents who received Tdap.) We conducted a study of nearly 200,000 young women to determine whether there was any elevated risk of primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) after HPV or other recommended vaccinations.  (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids, Menopause, University of Pennsylvania, Women's Heart Health / 19.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is based on the current measurements used to determine cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women. Higher levels of HDL “good cholesterol” as measured by the widely available clinical test, HDL-Cholesterol, may not always be indicative of a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. HDL is a family of particles found in the blood that vary in sizes, cholesterol contents and function. HDL particles can become dysfunctional under certain conditions such as chronic inflammation. HDL has traditionally been measured as the total cholesterol carried by the HDL particles, known as HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol, however, does not necessarily reflect the overall concentration, the uneven distribution, or the content and function of HDL particles. We looked at 1,138 women aged 45 through 84 enrolled across the U.S. in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a medical research study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). MESA began in 1999 and is still following participants today. We assessed two specific measurements of HDL: the number and size of the HDL particles and total cholesterol carried by HDL particles. Our study also looked at how age when women transitioned into post menopause, and the amount of time since transitioning, may impact the expected cardio-protective associations of HDL measures. Our study points out that the traditional measure of the good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, fails to portray an accurate depiction of heart disease risk for postmenopausal women. We reported a harmful association between higher HDL cholesterol and atherosclerosis risk that was most evident in women with older age at menopause and who were greater than, or equal to, 10 years into post menopause. In contrast to HDL cholesterol, a higher concentration of total HDL particles was associated with lower risk of atherosclerosis. Additionally, having a high number of small HDL particles was found beneficial for postmenopausal women. These findings persist irrespective of age and how long it has been since women became postmenopausal. On the other hand, large HDL particles are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease close to menopause. Women are subject to a variety of physiological changes in their sex hormones, lipids, body fat deposition and vascular health as they transition through menopause. We are hypothesizing that the decrease of estrogen, a cardio-protective sex hormone, along with other metabolic changes, can trigger chronic inflammation over time, which may alter the quality of HDL particles. Future studies should test this hypothesis. The study findings indicate that measuring size and number of HDL particles can better reflect the well-known cardio-protective features of the good cholesterol in postmenopausal women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hormone Therapy, Menopause / 25.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jerilynn C. Prior, MD Professor in the Department of Medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism University of British Columbia in Vancouver Dr. Prior has written the second edition of the award-winning book, Estrogen’s Storm Season—Stories of Perimenopause this year as an ebook on Google Play. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is an urgent need for an effective therapy for perimenopausal hot flushes/flashes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms, VMS). Although often considered “estrogen deficiency symptoms” VMS are common and very problematic for women in the menopause transition and who have not yet been one year without flow. About 23% of North American women are now in the perimenopausal age range. Surprisingly VMS are more common in perimenopause than in menopause; 9% of perimenopausal women have severe VMS as classified by the FDA, meaning more than 50 VMS per week of moderate to intense severity. The commonly used therapies for VMS in midlife women have not been proven more effective than placebo! That includes combined hormonal contraceptives (CHC) and menopausal-type hormone therapy (MHT) as well as the SSRI/SNRI anti-depressants and gabapentin.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Menopause, OBGYNE, Sexual Health / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology http://massgeneral.link/MitchellLab MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this study we compared two commonly recommended treatments for menopausal vaginal discomfort - low dose vaginal estradiol tablets and a vaginal moisturizer - to placebo, and found no difference in reduction of symptom severity; all three groups improved over 12 weeks of treatment.  This is great news for women, as it means that using any treatment regularly is likely to have benefit, whether it costs $20 or $200. Symptoms of vaginal dryness, irritation and pain with sex, which occur in over half of postmenopausal women, cause a significant decrease in quality of life and negatively impact intimate relationships.  The significant impact of these symptoms is reflected in the fact that we enrolled all 302 participants in under a year, a faster enrollment than any of the four prior trials  conducted by the MsFlash research network that evaluated treatments for hot flashes.  Women were desperate for some kind of intervention for these symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lancet, Menopause, Women's Heart Health / 10.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mihir Sanghvi Academic Junior Doctor Barts Health NHS Trust MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The effect of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), previously known as hormone replacement therapy, on cardiovascular health in post-menopausal women remains controversial and unclear. Extensive observational data had suggested MHT to be cardioprotective, leading to MHT being routinely prescribed for both primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, subsequent data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS) studies cast doubt on the beneficial cardiovascular effects of MHT; this was reflected in learned societies’ clinical guidance concerning MHT’s role in CHD prevention. The most recent randomised trial data on the subject arose from the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study, which indicated that women taking menopausal hormone therapy had a reduced risk of the composite endpoint of mortality, heart failure and myocardial infarction but the study has been subject to criticism [10]. In more recent work, again from the WHI, there was no difference in cardiovascular mortality in MHT users compared to placebo, although the authors themselves state that cause-specific mortality data should be interpreted “cautiously”. The UK Biobank is an ongoing, large-scale, population-based study designed to examine determinants of health in middle and old age. Besides extensive collection of health questionnaire data, biological samples and physical measurements, it has incorporated cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging – the gold standard for analysis of cardiac structure and function – to provide detailed imaging phenotypes. At present, there is a paucity of data on the effects of  menopausal hormone therapy on left ventricular (LV) and left atrial (LA) volumes and function, alterations in which are markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease and have prognostic implications. We found that in a large, population-based cohort of post-menopausal women free of cardiovascular disease, use of menopausal hormone therapy is not associated with adverse, subclinical changes in cardiac structure and function. Indeed, we demonstrate significantly smaller LV and LA chamber volumes which have been linked to favorable cardiovascular outcomes in other settings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JAMA, Menopause, OBGYNE / 13.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Suzanne Fenske, MD Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: USPSTF recommendations are based off several studies, but is mainly based off of the Women's Health Initiative. The Women's Health Initiative was a 15 year prevention study with a focus on death, disability and impaired quality of life in postmenopausal women. This study was originally performed in 1991. The USPSTF reevaluated the data along with several other studies to assess the role of hormone replacement therapy in prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, blood clot, gallbladder disease, dementia.  The USPSTF has found that hormone replacement therapy has some benefit in reducing the risk of fractures, and, potentially, diabetes.  The USPSTF has found that hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, blood clot, gall bladder disease, urinary incontinence and dementia. With these risks, the USPSTF states that hormone replacement therapy should not be used as a preventative medicine, but, rather, used for treatment of symptomatic menopause and not prevention of osteoporosis or heart disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Menopause, Obstructive Sleep Apnea / 09.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, FACP, NCMP, IF Director, Executive and International Medicine Director, Office of Women’s Health Associate Professor of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Data Registry on Experiences of Aging, Menopause and Sexuality (DREAMS) was used for this study investigating the association between vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats) and risk for obstructive sleep apnea, a common and underdiagnosed sleep disorder in women which is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. We found that Women who had severe or very severe hot flashes or night sweats were more likely to be at increased risk for obstructive sleep apnea.  This association held even after adjusting for age, body mass index, smoking and hypertension, such that the odds of women having intermediate /high risk for obstructive sleep apnea were 1.87 times higher for those with severe/very severe hot flashes/night sweats compared to those with less severe symptoms.  We decided to analyze the group of women with normal body mass index, and indeed, this finding was still significant in the lean group of women. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Lipids, Menopause / 06.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marija Glisic Epidemiology, Erasmus MC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Carotid atherosclerosis is one of most important risk factors for developing stroke. Carotid atherosclerotic plaques characterized by lipid core presence and intraplaque haemorrhage are considered to be unstable, and therefore more prone to rupture and lead to consequent stroke. Sex differences have been observed in carotid plaque composition as well as in stroke incidence. Sex hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone actions are suggested to underlie the observed sex differences in atherosclerosis. Experimental evidence suggests a direct action of estradiol and testosterone on the vascular system, affecting various mechanisms that may impact plaque composition and subsequently stroke risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Menopause, Ophthalmology, UCLA / 31.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD Center for Community Outreach and Policy, Stein Eye Institute David Geffen School of Medicine Director, UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss worldwide, and cataract surgery is an intervention that is known to be extremely effective to address the vision loss related to cataract. However, it is unclear if there are benefits of cataract surgery beyond vision improvement in people with cataracts. Previous studies have suggested that in addition to improving vision, cataract surgery may decrease the risk of fractures and accidents, improve mental health, and improve overall quality of life. The purpose of the present study was to further investigate the potential benefits of cataract surgery and to determine if cataract surgery was associated with increased survival in people with cataracts. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Menopause, Sleep Disorders / 02.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anjel Vahratian PhD MPH Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist Branch Chief at the National Center For Health Statistics   Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDr. Anjel Vahratian PhD MPH Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist Branch Chief at the National Center For Health Statistics Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: Why did you conduct this study? Response: Our research focuses on the health of women as they age and transition from the childbearing period. During this time, women may be at increased risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As insufficient sleep is a modifiable behavior that is associated with these chronic health conditions, we wanted to examine how sleep duration and quality varies by menopausal status. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, Hormone Therapy, JAMA, Menopause / 13.09.2017

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  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. (more…)