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Study cites early hormone danger

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NEW YORK, Aug 07, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Women taking the hormones estrogen and progestin after menopause boost their risk of heart attack during the first year of therapy, a study showed Thursday.

However, the study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, said the threat appeared to be quite small, USA Today reported. This is especially so for newly menopausal women with a low overall risk of heart disease, according to lead author JoAnn Manson of Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

A second study found that hormone replacement therapy doesn't worsen existing coronary-artery disease.

The studies offered some new clues to help women and their doctors weigh the tangled risks and benefits of the controversial treatment and solidify a major shift in thinking about hormone therapy.

Studies completed two decades ago seemed to suggest that taking hormones could extend estrogen's natural protection against heart attack well past menopause. Better studies in recent years have deflated that claim.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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