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Naturally produced estrogen may protect women from Parkinson's disease
Date:2/25/2009

isk of developing Parkinsons compared with women who had a fertile lifespan shorter than 33 years.

In addition, the data showed that women who had four or more pregnancies were about 20 percent more likely to develop Parkinsons disease than were women who had three or fewer pregnancies. One explanation for this finding is that the post-partum period, which is typically one with lower levels of estrogen, subtracts from a womans total fertile lifespan, says co-author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and population health and the principal investigator of the WHI study at Einstein.

Overall, our findings might lead one to assume that hormone therapy would make sense as a neuroprotective agent, says Dr. Saunders-Pullman. However, we also found that women who were taking hormone therapy did not have a lower risk for Parkinsons. Thus, our data does not support a role for treatment with exogenous hormones, that is, hormones that originate outside the body, to prevent Parkinsons.

In fact, hormone therapy can have harmful neurological effects. Earlier studies in the Womens Health Initiative demonstrated that hormone therapy increases ones risk for both stroke and dementia, says Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller. Clearly, we need to conduct more research into estrogens effects on the brain.


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Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-2923
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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