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Arterial Plaque Significantly Reduced in Women Age 50-59 Taking,Hormones, Says New Analysis of Women's Health Initiative Data

Fourth Study to Indicate that Early Use of Estrogen May be Cardio-Protective

PHOENIX, June 20, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new analysis of Women's Health Initiative data published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows significant reduction in calcified plaque for women aged 50 to 59 using hormone therapy (HT) compared with women taking a placebo. This is the first time the relationship between estrogen therapy and coronary artery calcium (CAC) has been evaluated in a randomized trial.

The amount of CAC is now well-recognized as a strong predictor of future heart attacks and other coronary events. Using cardiac CT scans, CAC was measured in 1064 WHI women. After adjustment for other coronary risk factors, the risks of having mild-to-moderate CAC were 20 to 30 percent lower and the risks of severe CAC were 40 percent lower in the group of women assigned to the active HT group compared to those receiving placebo. Even more impressive was the finding that mild-to-moderate CAC scores were 40 to 50 percent lower and severe CAC was 60 percent lower in those women who were actually taking their study medications regularly.

"This is the fourth peer-reviewed re-analysis of WHI data to suggest that estrogen may be cardio-protective for younger women," said Dr. S. Mitchell Harman, Director of the Kronos Longevity Research Institute (KLRI). The Institute is conducting the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS), a randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial of 720 recently menopausal women at nine study centers across the United States. The KEEPS is designed to provide prospective data on the risks and benefits of early menopausal HT, particularly as it relates to the progression of atherosclerosis. "The new findings from the WHI continue to support the KEEPS hypothesis that hormones may be good early, but bad late," Dr. Harman said.

This latest study follows an April article in th
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