ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
CAREGIVING
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Hairspray Exposure Ups Risk for Birth Defect in Sons
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
FITNESS
Be Healthy, Spend Less
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
It Pays to Eat Less as You Age
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
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Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Estrogen has long been implicated as being heart protective in premenopausal women, and a new study suggests that having just the right amount of estrogen might be helpful for men as well.

The study, in the May 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that men with heart failure who had the lowest levels of estrogen had about four times the risk of dying as men with average levels and that men with the highest levels of estrogen had more than twice the risk of dying as men with average levels of the hormone.

"Among men with chronic heart failure and reduced left-ventricular ejection fraction, high and low concentrations of estradiol [estrogen] compared with the middle quintile of estradiol are related to an increased mortality," the researchers wrote.

However, Dr. Stephen Siegel, a cardiologist at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that though the study "raises certain issues on how hormones may be affected or may affect cardiac function and mortality, it doesn't necessarily link cause and effect."

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle weakens and can't pump blood as efficiently to the rest of the body as it should. As many as 5 million people in the United States currently have heart failure, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Each year, about 300,000 Americans die as a result of heart failure, the institute reports.

The study, which was done in Poland, included 501 men with an average age of 58 years. All of the men had heart failure and a left ventricular ejection fraction of 28 percent. Ejection fraction is a measure of how well the heart is pumping, and the left ventricle is the heart's main pumping chamber. A normal left ventricular ejection fraction would be between 55 percent and 70 percent, according to the American Heart Association.

During the three-year follow-up period, 171 of the men died. When the researchers separated the men into groups based on their estrogen levels, they found that those with the lowest and highest levels of estrogen were more likely to have died.

The group with the lowest estrogen levels had a 44.6 percent survival rate, and those with the second-lowest scores had a 65.8 percent survival rate. The middle group had the highest survival rate, at 82.4 percent. The fourth group, which had elevated estrogen levels, had a 79 percent survival rate, and the group with the highest estrogen levels had a 63.6 percent survival rate.

"This is an interesting observation," said Dr. David Haines, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. "But, it seems just as likely that it could be an epidemiological phenomenon."

Haines said that, based on the data from the study, he would not recommend supplementing heart failure patients with low estrogen, nor would he use medication to block the effects of estrogen on men with high levels.

"For something to be deadly at both ends is unlikely," said Dr. Stuart Katz, director of the heart failure program at the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. "Whenever you see this type of U-shaped relationship, it means there has to be two different explanations for what you've seen."

He said it's possible that estrogen may be a marker for worsening heart disease, but said it's probably not a more useful marker than those currently used. "I doubt this study will change what clinicians do," said Katz.

The three heart specialists agreed that though the study's observations raise interesting questions, much more research needs to be done before any changes in clinical practice might occur.

More information

Learn more about heart failure at HeartFailure.org.



SOURCES: Stephen Siegel, M.D., cardiologist, New York University Langone Medical Center, and clinical assistant professor, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; David Haines, M.D., chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich.; Stuart Katz, M.D., professor, medicine, Division of Cardiology, New York University School of Medicine, and director, Heart Failure Program, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; May 13, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association

Last Updated: May 12, 2009

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