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Originally published September 13 2007

Biomarkers Unable to Predict Occurrence of Stroke in Women

by Sarah Aitken

(NaturalNews) A nested, case-controled, study conducted by the Women's Health Initiative found that biomarkers could not accurately predict the occurrence of stroke in women undergoing hormone therapy.  The study concluded that the 20 chosen biomarkers could not predict stroke, but could help in determining the mechanism by which the equine estrogen, and progestine, administered to the women caused inflammation.  It was also noted in the study that the administering of these hormones increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and reduced the cardiovascular protection that is normally associated with natural estrogen found in a woman's body.  The study was published by the Public Library of Science. 

Previous studies by the Women's Health Initiative were conducted to determine why using equine estrogen with progestine, and estrogen alone increased the risk of stroke in women.

The data was collected from trials where women were randomly chosen to take either estrogen and progestine or estrogen alone. The estrogen and progestine trials were halted after 5.6 years due to increased breast cancer risk. The estrogen alone trials were halted after 6.8 years due to the increased risk of stroke and lack of cardiovascular protection.

Blood samples were taken at the beginning of the trials as a baseline, and one year later. The 205 women who had strokes within the first year had their baseline samples analyzed against 878 controls. The 138 women who had strokes after the first year of the study had their year one blood sample analyzed.

The analysis found that the 20 chosen biomarkers were not useful in determining the risk of stroke. When the researchers compared the baseline blood samples to the year one blood samples, 14 of the 20 biomarkers had a significant change, which would be more than expected by chance.

Inflammation promotes atherogenic events, such as a stroke. Through the analysis of the biomarkers, the researchers hypothesize that estrogen plus progestin and estrogen alone have different inflammatory effects. It can be seen that equine estrogens and progestin increase stroke risk through various biochemical pathways, and the chosen 20 biomarkers were not sign-posts of increased stroke risk, likely due to the intricate relationships of the hormones and natural biochemistry.

The complex interaction of hormones and biochemicals, in this case, could not help elucidate stroke risk, but helped shed light on the fact that equine hormones increase inflammation in women from different, unpredicted angles.

About the author

Sarah is a Chemical and Materials Engineer by education. Through years of focused self-study, she has come to see the benefit of whole food nutrition and allowing the body to heal itself. A Field Center Certified Facilitator, Sarah is passionate about being helpful to others, in any venue, in their quest for a better life.

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