Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Minding hormonal matters

I am particularly interested in getting all parts to the finish line intact--both mine and yours. You may have noticed many postings here and in my newsletter about bringing the brain along for the entire ride. Unfortunately, hormones have gotten such bad press in the last few years, women tend to discount the potent benefits of estrogen and progesterone on the brain. Consider these little tidbits:

UK Investigators checked out the hormonal status of youngish women (less than 50) with multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with similar women free of neurological troubles. They found that women using oral contraceptives were 40% less likely to carry a diagnosis of MS whereas women in the 6 months after giving birth--a time where estrogen and progesterone levels plummet--were at 3 times greater risk of developing the disease.

In rodent news, mice with head injuries (what? no helmets?) had far less damage to brain tissue adjacent to the injury site if they were on progesterone or received the hormone shortly after their 'accidents.' Trauma surgeons at Emory University are now testing progesterone in humans after brain injuries to see if this protective effect will hold true across species. They expect it will given the many known benefits of progesterone on neurons.

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