Hormone therapy’s rise and fall

Sunday, Jul 20, 2003, front page

… Bernadine Healy, who became the first woman to lead the National Institutes of Health that year [1991], was convinced that the rush to put hormones into the hands of every woman over 50 was a reckless pursuit based on insufficient science.

“We were on a fast train to putting estrogen and progestin in every woman’s drinking water,” she recalled…

The stellar rise and spectacular fall of hormone replacement therapy ranks among the biggest medical mistakes in history, fueled by a combination of weak science, relentless hype, the herd mentality of doctors, and women’s dawning redefinition of menopause from an inevitable “change of life” to a manageable condition.

Now, a year after the first of a series of bombshell studies demolished widely held beliefs about hormone replacement, physicians and patients alike continue to reel from the reality that the pills cause some of the very problems they aim to prevent, including heart disease and impaired mental states…

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