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"Estrogen may reduce heart disease: study"

Vancouver Sun

Source: Vancouver Sun

Published: 21 Jun 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

WASHINGTON - Estrogen therapy may reduce one threat of heart disease among postmenopausal women in their 50s, although it increases chances of blood clots and stroke, a study out Wednesday said.
The study found lower levels of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries of women who had their uteruses removed and used estrogen therapy to relieve menopause symptoms like hot flashes. Coronary artery calcification is one factor leading to heart attack.
However, the study's senior author warned that the finding should not be interpreted to mean estrogen should be used to prevent heart disease....

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Applicable
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a poor story that fails to quantify any sense of the risk or potential benefit related to estrogen and it should be placed in the "So what?" category of stories.
The study underlying this article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and it found that women 50 to 59 years old who took estrogen had a lower "calcified-plaque burden in the coronary arteries". But what does this mean? We have no idea how this may or may not cause cardiovascular disease, but we are left with the assumption it's a good thing. Which makes the headline very misleading and though a misleading headline may generate interest in the story, the story itself does little to generate new knowledge. If women feel confused after reading an article like this, which suitably warns against the risks of blood clots and strokes, it is completely understandable.

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