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Posted: July 21, 2005

UNT HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER RESEARCHERS TACKLE FUTURE OF HORMONE THERAPY IN NEW BOOK


singh_simpkins.jpg A book edited by two UNT Health Science Center researchers tackles the controversial world of hormone therapy.

Meharvan Singh, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and neuroscience, and James Simpkins, PhD, professor and chair of pharmacology and neuroscience, are editors of “The Future of Hormone Therapy: What Basic Science and Clinical Studies Teach Us,” which is available from the New York Academy of Sciences beginning this month. The duo also wrote two chapters in the book.

Drs. Singh and Simpkins used papers and deliberations from a two-day conference that took place Nov. 5-7, 2004, in Fort Worth as the basis for the book.

“We wanted this book to be a critical but fair assessment of hormone therapy clinical trials thus far,” Dr. Singh said.

The conference, which was part of the Consortium for the Assessment of Research on Progestins and Estrogens, brought together some of the top researchers in the field of estrogen and hormone therapy.

“The chapters in the text underscore the need to do additional research and suggest that we should by no means rule out the possibility of future forms of hormone therapy,” Dr. Singh said.

Some of the questions explored in the book include:
-What is the therapeutic window for hormone therapy and/or estrogen therapy?
-What are the appropriate formulations of hormone therapy and estrogen therapy?
-What should be considered the most appropriate design for clinical trials that address the efficacy of hormone therapy and estrogen therapy?
-What are appropriate surrogate markers of neurological decline or impairment?

Chapters by Drs. Singh and Simpkins also address the ability of hormones to protect the brain from cognitive decline. Another researcher from the health science center, Anna Ratka, PhD, PharmD, RPh, associate professor of pharmacology and neuroscience, also contributed a chapter to the book as well.

Dr. Ratka’s chapter discusses the possible role of hot flashes in the cognitive decline of women as they age and looks at the use of estrogen to help reduce that cognitive decline.

The chapter in the book written by Dr. Singh, addresses how progesterone protects the brain to keep it healthy during the aging process.

The chapter in the book written by Dr. Simpkins, addresses alternatives to existing estrogens and how those alternatives can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“This book is the definitive thesis that addresses the controversy as to whether hormones are good or bad for women,” Dr. Singh said.

The controversy involving hormone therapy for menopause started with a report issued by the Women’s Health Initiative three years ago. The report indicated that combination menopausal hormone therapy resulted in unexpectedly greater health risks than benefits, while failing to improve quality of life for postmenopausal women.

“Regrettably, that’s not the whole story,” Dr. Singh said.

Studies done by Drs. Singh and Simpkins as well as others have looked at the results of the WHI and put them into a broader perspective.

“This book argues that hormone therapy at the time of menopause is most likely good and of very low risk,” Dr. Simpkins said.

The new book is available from the New York Academy of Sciences at www.nyas.org as a forthcoming volume.

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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