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Study: Early Hormone Therapy OK for Heart

Short-term hormone therapy for menopause symptoms is unlikely to harm the heart, a new study suggests. An earlier, large-scale study linked hormone replacement therapy with higher risks of heart disease and stroke. But the women in that study were well past the age of menopause. The new study included 727 women, ages 42 to 58. They were no more than 3 years past menopause. All were at low risk of heart disease. The women were randomly divided into 3 groups. One group took pills containing low doses of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Another group took progesterone pills and wore estrogen skin patches. The third group received placebo patches and pills. They contained no hormones. Everyone had ultrasound tests to show the thickness of artery walls in the neck. Another test looked at new calcium deposits in arteries around the heart.

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