Dismayed at what they regard as an unreasoning and unwarranted backlash against long-term sex hormone replacement for middle-aged women, hormone researchers are planning a counterattack. The researchers are trying to organize new studies they hope will answer lingering questions about hormones' long-term benefits and risks arising from recent negative clinical investigations. Many believe the results would be different this time.

Would-be revisionist researchers acknowledge that they face enormous hurdles with funders, regulators, the media, and perhaps women themselves. "These things tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies," complained Frederick Naftolin, who directs the Yale University Center for Research in Reproductive Biology and has been a vigorous critic of the studies and the ways they have been interpreted. "You get people talking about how the issue has been settled and it becomes settled."

The current backlash against hormone replacement therapy (HRT) resulted from a cascade of large-scale studies reporting small increases in...

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