Wall Street Journal Examines Debate Over Hormone Replacement Therapy
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday looks at the continuing debate over hormone replacement therapy and a new plan by the Kronos Longevity Research Institute to conduct a "broad new study" on whether the therapy can help prevent middle-aged women from getting heart attacks (Mathews/Hensley, Wall Street Journal, 10/8). In July 2002 federal health officials terminated some sections of the Women's Health Initiative, a large study on the benefits of HRT, three years early because researchers determined that combination estrogen-progestin HRT may increase the risk of invasive breast cancer, stroke, heart attack and other diseases (California Healthline, 7/9/02). However, a group of Kronos researchers asserts that the WHI study had gaps, mainly because it included mostly older women, with ages ranging from 50 to 79. Institute Director Dr. S. Mitchell Harman said that WHI findings ran counter to other studies that indicated that hormones can lessen women's chance of heart disease, adding that his group wants to challenge "the great tidal wave of opinion" that WHI's findings are definitive. The new study will involve about 900 women between the ages of 45 and 54, and, like the WHI, will be random and double-blind so that patients and their doctors do not know who is given placebos. According to the Journal, the new study still faces "big hurdles getting approval by medical review boards and recruiting participants" because of the publicized risks of breast cancer and other problems WHI found. However, Dr. Harman hopes that the new study will begin by June or July 2004 (Wall Street Journal, 10/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.