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Study Finds Oral Contraceptives and Hormone Replacement Therapy May Protect Women against Brain Aneurysms

Posted Aug 02 2010 5:58pm

Results from a new study suggest that oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may yield additional benefit of protecting against the formation and rupture of brain aneurysms in women. The findings from this first-of-its-kind study by a neurointerventional expert from Rush University Medical Center were presented at the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery (SNIS) 7th annual meeting.

According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Michael Chen, neurointerventionalist at Rush, the retrospective, case-control study was initiated due to the observation that in the two largest brain aneurysm trials to date, cerebral aneurysms occurred most frequently in post-menopausal women.  The two trials, the International Subarachnoid Aneurysm trial and the International Study of Unruptured Intercranial Aneurysms, found that 70 percent of aneurysms occurred in post-menopausal women with the mean age of 52 at a time of life coinciding with a severe drop in estrogen levels.

“By understanding the potential link between low levels of estrogen and aneurysms, we can focus our areas of study with the hope of providing women who are at risk for brain aneurysms with preventative therapies,” said Chen, who also is assistant professor of neurology, neurosurgery and radiology at Rush University.

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