In Estrogen Research, Challenge Is To Cull Good From Bad

What to make of estrogen? Does the female sex hormone's potential to protect women, and even men, against an array of illnesses foreshadow a research bonanza? Or will its use, in natural and synthetic forms, always be compromised by serious side effects, including an increased risk of cancer? A steady flow of academic articles and announcements from university research centers indicates widespread interest in such questions, but the asking seems much easier than the answering. "Estrogen" is a

Steve Bunk
Mar 29, 1998
What to make of estrogen? Does the female sex hormone's potential to protect women, and even men, against an array of illnesses foreshadow a research bonanza? Or will its use, in natural and synthetic forms, always be compromised by serious side effects, including an increased risk of cancer? A steady flow of academic articles and announcements from university research centers indicates widespread interest in such questions, but the asking seems much easier than the answering.

"Estrogen" is a generic term for synthetic substances and a family of natural hormones formed by the ovary, placenta, and testes; possibly by the adrenal cortex; and by certain plants. In the United States, estrogen replacement therapy generally derives from a mixture of natural hormones obtained from the urine of pregnant mares. Despite estrogen's well-established ability to protect against osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, less than one-fifth of postmenopausal women ever take estrogen supplements (L.M. Salamone...

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