A little big secret

Published: Saturday 31 January 1998

Oestrogen may help men ward off heart disease, suggests a study. But to make sure that men do not develop breasts, scientists will have to find a 'masculine' version of the hormone. R S Blumenthal and his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, have shown that a single intravenous dose of a form of oestrogen -- at about three times the dose given to women as hormone replacement therapy -- helps prevent heart disease. During trials, the hormone increased blood flow to the heart by nearly 32 per cent in 12 middle-aged men suffering from cardio-vascular disease. Researchers are now looking for oestrogen-like molecules that could have beneficial effects on blood vessels without affecting the breast tissue (American Journal of Cardiology , Vol 80, No 8).

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