Contact: Tom Capezzuto
May 27, 2003, 4 p.m., E.S.T.
At UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School
UMDNJ Researcher Says Risk of Dementia "Doubled" By
Combined Hormone Replacement Therapy
Results of National Study Reported in May 28 Issue of JAMA
Postmenopausal women who take combined estrogen plus progestin-the
most common form of hormone replacement therapy-may double their
risk of developing dementia, according to a researcher at the
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) who
participated in a national study.
The Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS), a sub-study
of the 10-year Women's Health Initiative that was funded by the
National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that the drug combination
proved deleterious in its ability to thwart the onset of dementia
in older postmenopausal women, said Dr. Norman L. Lasser, a preventive
cardiologist and principal investigator of the Women's Health
Initiative at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark. The
results of the study, presented by the Wake Forest University
Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., are published in
the May 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"It was determined in the WHIMS study that the combined hormone
therapy (0.625 milligrams per day of conjugated equine estrogen
plus 2.5 milligrams a day of medroxyprogesterone acetate) actually
doubled the risk for probable dementia in women 65 and older and
did not prevent mild cognitive impairment," Dr. Lasser said. "The
overall risk to women is low, although there is reason for concern."
Women in the WHIMS study, he noted, stopped taking the combined
therapy last July when it was determined that the risks for developing
breast cancer, strokes and cardiovascular disease outweighed the
benefits, Dr. Lasser added. The WHIMS study involved 4,532 postmenopausal
women age 65 and older who were followed for an average of 4.2
years at 39 of the 40 WHI clinical centers, including the UMDNJ-New
Jersey Medical School.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Lasser, please call Tom Capezzuto
at (973) 972-7273.