More Good News for Women: Synthetic, Prescription HRT Shrinks the Brain

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Here’s some cheery news to end the week with.  The story will only be available until April 12, 2009 for some reason; I guess this is going to have to go down the memory hole.

We all know that hormone replacement therapy’s relationship to the rise of cancer rates (and the fall since women have stopped taking them en masse), but have you heard about this??

HRT Shrinks the Brain

But research shows it does not damage cerebral blood vessels in older women

URL of this page: (*this news item will not be available after 04/12/2009)

HealthDay Logo

HealthDayMonday, January 12, 2009

MONDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) — Two studies looking at the same group of women found that while hormone therapy is linked with brain shrinkage, it does not seem to be associated with early signs of cerebrovascular disease.

This suggests that hormone therapy’s effect on brain volume, not its effect on the brain lesions that indicate “silent strokes,” is the mechanism by which hormones increase the risk for dementia in women over 65.

“These are a nice companion to cognitive studies reported earlier. This is now neuroradiological evidence that, together, suggest that the effect [of hormones] may be more degeneration than vascular,” said Miriam Weber, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and of neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

These papers, both published in the Jan. 13 issue of Neurology, are the latest in a parade of analyses resulting from the hormone therapy arm of the landmark, government-sponsored Women’s Health Initiative study.

Previous results included an increased risk of stroke and cerebrovascular disease in women over 65 taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Another offshoot of the WHI, the WHI Memory Study, found an increased risk of dementia and memory problems in this group of women.

Both papers set out to understand the mechanisms behind this increased risk for dementia in women taking conjugated equine estrogens (either estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin).


Great news, huh?  First, the continuing misogyny and disrespect from the Obama crowd, now we get the news that Big Pharma and the docs have helped shrink a lot of female brains!

I never trusted or wanted to use the stuff, so I’m OK on this one.  But you have to wonder, what’s coming down the pike next for women…

Oh, by the way, as reported by American Association for Health Freedom :

The conclusion once again was that “these findings don’t impact the current recommendations which are to use hormone therapy for treatment of menopausal symptoms for the shortest time at the lowest possible dose.”

Cancer, increased risk of stroke and cerebrovascular disease, shrinking brains and demention…NOPE, just move along, nothing to worry about here…”shortest time at the lowest possible dose” certainly is reassuring, isn’t it?

13 Responses

  1. This just reinforces my concerns with both the medical community and big pharma.

    I quit taking the medications prescribed for me by my doctor when I read warnings for people at risk of stoke. Since my mother had died at age 44 of a stroke and I had high blood pressure I was worried. So I stopped taking the very expensive and dangerous hormonal medications and turned to natural solutions.

    I started taking an herbal concoction I bought at my local health food store. It was called Change of Life and the reason I took it was because it contained something called black cohosh. Black Cohosh has been taken by women for change of life problems for thousands of years.

    Within weeks my symptoms disappeared. The “Change of Life” pills cost me less than $12 a month, as opposed to the $115 my prescriptions from my doctor were costing. They worked better and were no danger to my heath.

    I don’t trust doctors any more than I trust big pharma these days. They are all hand in glove to fleece the public. Are all doctors scoundrels? Of course not. But how are we to know who is to be trusted and who is not. It’s a kind of important question since we put our lives in their hands. Something that I am increasingly uneasy about.

  2. IA

    My Dr. prescribed Premarin, but after taking it for a few days I read an article that it caused cancer. I quit taking the drug immediately but years later I got cancer anyway. We not only have to watch EVERY drug that is prescribed, but also the food we eat. I know you are up to snuff on the food part too from your posts.

    I also feel that the chemicals we use to clean our houses, and that the exterminators use to rid us of ants and termites are very dangerous, but I didn’t wake up to that fact for a long time. Unfortunately, just breathing the poluted air of today’s world is a danger.

    We can’t win – we can only keep trying. It’s a wonder we have any brain left. Think maybe the pharmas could have warned us of this years ago? Naw, we’re just women.

  3. IA, this is confusing. Is equine estrogen considered synthetic?

    I took HRT for five years to relieve roaring hot flashes. I stopped when the first hints of major problems surfaced back in the mid-nineties. I may be healthier for that but it sure hasn’t done anything for my sex life.

  4. Creeper…
    The synthetics are the problem…the stuff from mare urine..

    There are bio-identicals discussed in the Am Assoc for Health Freedom editorial….and in MANY other places..

    But I don’t trust any of it! Didn’t need anything either.

    A lot of the symptoms can really be helped by diet and exercise. I think it’s my diet that saved me from any problems…

    I went to a holistically-oriented gyn (female) who did some training over at the Dr. Weill place in AZ for a consult about progesterone, another hormone that has been discussed quite a lot.

    The doc said: DON’T TAKE ANY HORMONES…none, including progesterone!!!!

    I take ground flax (which I grind immediately before use) because that is a good thing. I think “Brevail” is somewhat based on it, so I just do the natural thing and do flax. And I exercise and am at optimal weight.

    I’m now thinking of bagging mammos and finding that doc up in Santa Fe who does thermography…..

    Also, I wear camis…no more restriction. And there are “massage” videos on the internet which also promote lymph circulation…

  5. As an older physician, I can report that I and many of my female colleagues do take HRT. There are so many conflicting studies out there that I believe each woman should study and discuss this with her doctor. As an example, read “HRT Users Who Get Breast Cancer Less Likely To Die” discussing a talk by Dr. Victor G. Vogel, MD, incoming vp of research for the American Cancer Society. They are actually giving HRT to some breast cancer sufferers to help cure them. Also remember many managed care companies and health plans don’t want to pay for medications, so there is another side to this, big Insurance and HMO’s saving money.

  6. Years ago, my doctor recommended Premarin and then something else (don’t recall what), when my periods stopped. She said there would be “no danger” and gave me a video tape on one of the drugs. I had already decided that since I had “no symptoms” I said “no thanks”. I take few meds – the fewer the better as far as I’m concerned. I am just grateful to have docs that work with me and that agree that less is more. (These are the same docs who found my cancer and pretty much saved my life)
    When I see the young lovelies who represent Pharma and try to tell me how altruistic their companies are, I just shake my head. (in truth, some of the companies do many good things for schools, and communities when asked. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s to get another foot in the household door.)

    Lee, this is for you:
    When my oldest daughter (36 yrs) was only 3 years old., we lived in a newly developed suburban “ghetto” where everyone was consumed with having the best lawns and the fanciest landscaping. Ever other week a lawn service came in to spray the yards. And every other week, my daughter broke out in blistering rashes and had to stay indoors until the rash subsided. (we did not have the service, nor did the yards adjacent to ours. But I could smell the spray and even taste it as it wafted by on the breezes). Finally, after noticing the pattern, I took her to the doctor and told him. His response was,
    “There’s nothing in the sprays that is harmful to humans. And stop being such a nervous nellie.” I took to keeping my children in on the days of spraying, not allowing them to play in the yards that had been sprayed, and contacted the companies to find out what they knew about the sprays. Nothing to see here, move along. A few years later, the chemicals were banned as carcinogens. I have no idea what kind of damage the sprays did to the employees who sprayed nor the people whose yards were full of those chemicals.

    These are indeed, dangerous times.

  7. The choice for HRT has ALWAYS been a balance of risks and benefits for any individual patient. Many women are significantly affected by the climacteric and WANT HRT for symptom relief. The lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time is good advice.

    A healthy lifestyle (nourishing foods, adequate exercise, good sleep, and mental stimulation) is the way to keep our bodies and brains functioning well. Sometimes, however, pharma- ceuticals, whether “natural” or synthetic, can really help folks.

  8. FYI, there was a study published some years ago that suggested women’s brains shrink during pregnancy. I do not remember the journal.

  9. One more thing, conjugated estrogens have been generic for a long time now–probably even on all the cheap drug lists at Walmart, Target, Kroger’s, and Costco. I doubt if they are a money-maker for the drug companies.

  10. I guess we are expendable…

    And on a sad note… condolences to GG on the passing of her Mom….may both GG and her Mom find peace…

  11. I did not know about Grail’s mom. This saddens me deeply. Grail’s dedication to her mom was something to be admired and applauded. She deserves our utmost support. God Bless Grail and Grail Mama, too.

  12. Thanks Psstt. Check the site tomorrow for the details. It will dovetail to GRL’s post here very well. I’m on a crusade against the medical industry…

    Still sort of on autopilot, but we know she went peacefully. I will not quite as quiet…

  13. Grail has a piece going up tomorrow…a memorial post, full of life and fight…

    I’m sure all visitors to this blog will want to offer their condolences, along with all of us here at IA…

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