Oral contraceptives, HRT may protect women against brain disorder

July 31st, 2010 - 5:52 pm ICT by ANI  

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Washington, July 31 (ANI): A new study has suggested that
oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may yield additional
benefit of protecting against the formation and rupture of brain aneurysms in
women.

Michael Chen of Rush University said that the retrospective,
case-control study was initiated due to the observation that in the two largest
brain aneurysm trials to date, cerebral aneurysms occurred most frequently in
post-menopausal women.

The two trials found that 70 percent of aneurysms occurred
in post-menopausal women with the mean age of 52 at a time of life coinciding
with a severe drop in estrogen levels.

“By understanding the potential link between low levels of
estrogen and aneurysms, we can focus our areas of study with the hope of
providing women who are at risk for brain aneurysms with preventative
therapies,” said Chen.

Researchers at Rush also studied a group of 60 women with
both unruptured and ruptured aneurysms.

Sixty-five percent of the cases were unruptured and 35
percent were cases where women had ruptured aneurysms. The ages of the women who participated in
the study ranged from 31-80.

Both groups were screened with questions related to their
gynecologic history and the use of estrogen modifying medications.

The researchers found the rate of oral contraceptive usage
in the case group was 60 percent compared to 77.6 percent for the control
group.

Also, the rate of hormone replacement therapy usage was 23.7
percent for the case group and 44.8 percent for the control group.

Also, when comparing the median duration of oral
contraceptive use, results showed that the average duration was 2.6 years for
the case group and 5.2 years for the control group.

“These differences in the usage of estrogen modifying agents
qualify as statistically significant and indicate that women with brain
aneurysms use oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy less
frequently than the general population,” said Chen.

“It is reasonable to conclude that the data results support
our hypothesis that drops in estrogen that occur in menstruation and
particularly at menopause may explain why cerebral aneurysms are more
frequently found in women, particularly at menopause,” he added.

The findings were presented in the 7th annual meeting
of the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery (SNIS). (ANI)

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