Health: Beyond Hormones

Not only do the drugs not help the heart, but they may also be bad for the brain. What's a woman to do?

There was widespread shock and dismay last year when researchers reported that a popular combination of female hormones called Prempro, taken for more than a couple of years, increases a woman's risk of developing heart disease and breast cancer. The news seemed to sound the death knell for long-term hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). Yet even at the time, scientists recognized that there was a chance for a reprieve: the estrogen-progestin mix might still delay or even prevent various kinds of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. To find out, researchers began a careful analysis of a subset of data from the same Women's Health...

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