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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Cardiovascular Fat in Women at Midlife Varies By Race and Body Shape

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samar R. El Khoudary, PhD, MPH, BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor, Epidemiology PITT Public Health Epidemiology Data Center University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15260 

Dr. El Khoudary

Samar REl KhoudaryPhDMPH, BPharm, FAHA
Associate Professor, Epidemiology
PITT Public Health
Epidemiology Data Center
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260  

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

Response: Heart fat is associated with greater coronary heart disease risk. Postmenopausal women have greater heart fat volumes than premenopausal women, and the association between specific heart fat depots and calcification in the coronary arteries is more pronounced after menopause. Race, central adiposity, and visceral adiposity are important factors that could impact heart fat volumes.

We evaluated whether racial differences in heart fat volumes and in their associations with central (abdominal visceral fat) and general adiposity (as measured by body mass index [BMI]) exist in midlife women. Our study included 524 women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) (mean age: 51 years; 62% White and 38% Black) who had data on heart fat volumes, abdominal visceral fat and BMI.

After accounting for the potential health effects of lifestyle and socioeconomic factors we found that midlife Black women had less heart fat volumes than white women and not surprisingly, the more fat a women carries overall, the higher her risk for a fatty heart. However, white women with higher BMI had significantly more heart fat, as measured by a CT scan, than black women with the same BMI. For black women, the levels of heart fat were greater if they carried more fat in their midsection, as measured by a cross-sectional CT scan, compared with white women with the same volume of fat in their midsection. The results echo the findings we have reported previously in midlife men and published at the International Journal of Obesity (2015) 39, 488–494.
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Periodontal Disease is Associated with Higher Risk of Cancer in Postmenopausal Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD Dean, SUNY Distinguished Professor Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health School of Public Health and Health Professions University of Buffalo

Dr. Wactawski-Wende

Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD
Dean, SUNY Distinguished Professor
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: There has been a growing interest in the role of periodontal disease in system chronic diseases, including cancer. We explored the association of periodontal disease history and incident cancer in the women’s health initiative study of postmenopausal women. We found that women reporting periodontal disease history were at increased risk of developing cancer overall. In addition they were found to have significant increased risk of specific cancers including cancers of the lung, breast, esophagus, gallbladder and melanoma. The risk persisted after control for many other factors. In addition, the risk was seen in women regardless of their smoking history. Both ever smokers and never smokers were found to have increased risk of cancer associated with periodontal disease history.

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Women With Early Menopause At Higher Risk of Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eralda Asllanaj Department of Epidemiology Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdamthe Netherlands

Eralda Asllanaj

Eralda Asllanaj
Department of Epidemiology
Erasmus University Medical Center
Rotterdamthe Netherlands

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

Response: It is known that women with early onset of menopause (age below 45 years) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality. This increased risk is thought to be due to the adverse effects of menopause on cardiovascular risk factors.

Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it remains unclear whether age at menopause affects the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Our study shows that women who experience menopause before the age of 40 were almost 4 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those experiencing menopause after 55 years old. Moreover, those who had menopause between 40 to 44 years were 2.4 times more likely to have diabetes later in life. The risk of having diabetes reduced by 4 % per year older the women experienced menopause. Adjustment for the various confounding factors and differences in genetic predisposition to early menopause did not affect the results.

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Late Menopause and Oral Hormone Therapy Linked To High Risk of Hearing Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM Channing Division of Network Medicine Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Curhan

Sharon G. Curhan, MD, ScM
Channing Division of Network Medicine
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115

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

Response: Hearing loss affects approximately 48 million Americans and the number is expected to increase as the population ages. Some previous studies suggested that menopause may increase the risk for hearing loss, presumably due to the reduction in circulating estrogen levels, and that postmenopausal hormone therapy might slow hearing decline by “replacing” estrogen. To evaluate the role of menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy as risk factors for hearing loss, we examined the independent associations between menopausal status, oral hormone therapy, and risk of self-reported hearing loss in 80,972 women who are participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II, aged 27-44 years at baseline, and were followed from 1991 to 2013.

After more than 1.4 million person-years of follow-up, 18,558 cases of hearing loss were reported (~23% of the women developed hearing loss). We did not observe an overall independent association between menopausal status and risk of hearing loss.

However, the risk among women who underwent natural menopause at an older age was higher. Specifically, the risk among women who underwent natural menopause at age 50 or older was 10% higher than among those who underwent natural menopause before age 50 [multivariable-adjusted relative risk (MVRR): 1.10, 95% CI 1.03, 1.17]. When we conducted an analysis restricted to women who underwent natural menopause and did not use hormone therapy (HT), the multivariable-adjusted relative risk among women who underwent natural menopause at age 50-54 years was 21% higher (MVRR: 1.12, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.34), and among women who underwent natural menopause at age 55+ years was 29% higher (MVRR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.50), compared with women who underwent natural menopause before age 50.

Among postmenopausal women, we also found that use of oral HT was associated with higher risk of hearing loss, and the magnitude of the risk tended to increase with longer duration of use (p-trend < 0.001). Compared with women who never used any type of HT, the MVRR of hearing loss among women who used oral HT for 5-9.9 years was 15% higher (MVRR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.24), and for 10+ years was 21% higher (MVRR: 1.21, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.37). When specific types of oral HT were examined, longer duration of use of either oral estrogen-only or of combined estrogen plus progestogen HT were each associated with higher risk. Fewer women reported use of progestogen-only oral HT, yet among these women a higher risk was suggested, but not significant (MVRR: 1.15, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.35). Transdermal HT use was less common, but the associations observed were similar to those with oral hormone therapy. When examined separately by type of menopause, the results for HT use were similar.

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AbbVie Developing Elagolix For Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Associated With Fibroids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. James A. Simon, MD CCD, NCMP, FACOG</strong> Clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology George Washington University, and Medical director, Women's Health & Research Consultants® Washington, D.C

Dr. Simon

Dr. James A. Simon, MD CCD, NCMP, FACOG
Clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology
George Washington University, and
Medical director, Women’s Health & Research Consultants®
Washington, D.C

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

Response: The Phase 2b uterine fibroids study was a 24-week, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group clinical trial that evaluated the efficacy and safety of elagolix alone or in combination with add-back therapy (estradiol/norethindrone acetate) in women with heavy uterine bleeding associated with uterine fibroids. Elagolix is currently being investigated in diseases that are mediated by sex hormones, such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

The study was conducted in 567 premenopausal women, age 18 to 51, at 100 sites in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Chile and the United Kingdom. The two cohort design study evaluated the safety and efficacy of two elagolix treatment regimens (300mg BID and 600mg QD) alone and in combination with two different strengths of add-back therapy (estradiol/norethindrone acetate). The data presented were results from the 300mg cohort. Results from the 600mg cohort were similar and will be reported in a future publication.

Current non-surgical treatments indicated for uterine fibroids are limited, and women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding associated with uterine fibroids need more options.

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Pelvic Floor Symptoms May Lead To Exercise Avoidance in Menopausal Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Eija K. Laakkonen PhD Assistant professor Gerontology Research Center Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences University of Jyväskylä

Dr. Laakkonen

Dr. Eija K. Laakkonen PhD
Assistant professor
Gerontology Research Center
Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences
University of Jyväskylä

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

Response: Physical activity improves health and may delay the onset of chronic diseases. For women in particular, the rate of some chronic diseases accelerates at middle age around the time of menopause; therefore it is important to identify the determinants of health-enhancing physical activity during midlife in this population.

The main aim of this study was to characterize the level of physical activity and to examine the association between different female reproductive factors and objectively-measured physical activity in middle-aged women. The reproductive factors included cumulative reproductive history index, and perceived menopausal and pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms.

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Paracardial Fat Linked To Postmenopausal Coronary Artery Calcification

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. Assistant professor Department of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. El Khoudary,

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant 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: Our study revealed a previously unknown, menopause-specific indicator of heart disease risk. For the first time, we’ve pinpointed the type of heart fat, linked it to a risk factor for heart disease and shown that menopausal status and estrogen levels are critical modifying factors of its associated risk in women.

My team evaluated clinical data, including blood samples and heart CT scans, on 478 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women were in varying stages of menopause, averaged 51 years old and were not on hormone replacement therapy.

In a previous study, we showed that a greater volume of paracardial fat, but not epicardial fat, after menopause is associated with a decline in the sex hormone estradiol—the most potent estrogen—in women. The higher volume of epicardial fat was tied to other risk factors, such as obesity.

In the new study, we built on those findings to discover that not only is a greater paracardial fat volume specific to menopause, but—in postmenopausal women and women with lower levels of estradiol—it’s also associated with a greater risk of coronary artery calcification, an early sign of heart disease that is measured with a heart CT scan.

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Increased Risk of Heart Disease in Postmenopausal Women With History of Weight Cycling

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Somwail Rasla, MD Internal Medicine Resident Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Brown University

Dr. Somwail Rasla

Somwail Rasla, MD
Internal Medicine Resident
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Brown University

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

Response: Weight cycling has been studied as a possible risk factors for all-cause mortality and was found to be insignificant in some studies and significant in other studies when adjusted to age and timing of when the weight cycling occurred. It was proposed that weight cycling may increase risk of chronic inflammation by which weight cycling was considered to be a risk factor for increased morbidity and all cause mortalities. Other studies have reported that frequent weight cycling was associated with shorter telomere length, which is a risk factor for several comorbidities including CHD. Earlier studies showed that weight cycling has an association with increase in size of adipocytes as well as fluctuation of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and glucagon which may contribute to the increased incidence of diabetes. Alternatively, in the nurses’ health study , weight cycling was not predictive of cardiovascular or total mortality.

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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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