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New Study Sounds Warning on Hormone Replacement Therapy

from the Washington Post (Registration Required)

Women who are past menopause and healthy should not take hormone replacement therapy in hopes of warding off dementia, bone fractures or heart disease, according to a new analysis by the government task force that weighs the risks and benefits of screening and other therapies aimed at preventing illness.

The recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not necessarily apply to women who take hormone replacement therapy to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. The balance of harms and benefits for that use is expected to be addressed in an imminent report by the federal government's Office of Health Quality Research.

The latest recommendation, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, comes from an organization accustomed to kicking up controversy. In recent months, the task force has recommended against routine breast cancer screenings for most women younger than 50. It has also urged that the prostate-specific antigen (or PSA) test that has become a standard part of older men's yearly physicals be abandoned.

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