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Estrogen in the fight against schizophrenia
Date:1/20/2010

unts estrogen increases the effectiveness of anti-psychotic drugs.

Prof. Weiner points out that the medical community is hotly debating the pros and cons of estrogen replacement as an add-on to conventional treatment in schizophrenia. Detractors point to higher chances of cervical cancer and heart attacks in those who receive estrogen supplements. But according to her study, which looked at very specific factors possibly related to schizophrenia, estrogen replacement therapy could have positive behavioral effects, she concludes.

Assessing the possibility for prevention

During the course of a woman's lifetime, estrogen levels do not remain constant. During her reproductive years, these levels are affected by the menstrual cycle. There are also dramatic changes in the levels of estrogen just after a woman gives birth ― a change, which can trigger "post-partum blues", and in extreme cases lead to clinical depression and psychosis.

As a preventative therapy, estrogen could be given to women at certain points in time when they are most at risk for schizophrenia, Prof. Weiner suggests: in their mid-twenties and later during the menopausal years.

"Antipsychotic drugs are less effective during low periods of estrogen in the body, after birth and in menopause," says Prof. Weiner. "Our research links schizophrenia and its treatment to estrogen levels. Men seem less likely to begin schizophrenia after their 40s, which also suggests that estrogen is the culprit."

Prof. Weiner is continuing her research.


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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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