Entries in Hormone (4)


Hormone in Women Linked to Dementia, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MEDFORD, Mass.) -- Researchers have found a possible connection between a hormone found in body fat and the risk of dementia, adding to the growing evidence on the potential link between the condition and diabetes.

A new study found that women with high levels of a hormone called adiponectin were at an increased risk of developing dementia.  Scientists say the findings reflect the complicated and still unclear relationships between metabolism, hormones, and the brain degeneration that occurs in dementia.

The researchers studied frozen blood samples from 840 of the participants from the large Framingham Heart Study, taken after the patients had been monitored for 13 years. In the 159 people who developed dementia, researchers found high levels of adiponectin.

Adiponectin helps the body use insulin to deliver fuels like glucose to different cells, such as the neurons in the brain.  Study author Dr. Ernst Schaefer, a professor of medicine and nutrition at Tufts University, said he and his colleagues were surprised to find that women with high levels of the hormone had an increased risk of dementia.

“Adiponectin is supposed to be beneficial.  It’s supposed to decrease your risk of diabetes, supposed to decrease the risk of heart disease.  But in this particular study, to our surprise, it increased the risk of dementia,” Schaefer said.

The researchers also found high levels of the hormone in the men with dementia, but Schaefer said there were not enough men in the study to establish a link as strong as the one in women.

Previous studies have connected diabetes and dementia, suggesting that the condition’s characteristic cognitive decline may be the result of malfunctions in the way the brain’s cells respond to insulin.

Other research has also suggested that obesity, which often goes hand-in-hand with type 2 diabetes, may be another risk factor for dementia.  However, most of the people in the current study were not obese and, with an average age of 88, were older than the patients studied in most dementia research.

Scientists say far more research is needed before they can truly understand the connection between metabolism and dementia or know precisely what that connection means for the prevention and treatment of dementia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Post-Partum Depression May Be Linked to Oxytocin Levels

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BASEL, Switzerland) -- Oxytocin has been known to serve several functions in women, including roles in pregnancy, labor, and breastfeeding.  Now, a new study released Wednesday finds that the hormone may also be associated with emotional processing.

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland found that women with lower levels of oxytocin in their blood during the last three months of pregnancy were more likely to experience symptoms of post-partum depression two weeks after giving birth than women with higher blood levels of the hormone.

Despite their finding, the researchers point out that their study, which was published in Neuropsychopharmacology, can’t determine whether lower oxytocin levels actually directly contribute to post-partum depression.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Leptin Could Help Revert Amenorrhea in Pre-Menopausal Women

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- The hormone leptin may be effective in treating women who have stopped menstruating due to a lack of fat, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Amenorrhea can affect pre-menopausal women who don't have enough fat, such as long-distance runners, gymnasts and those with eating disorders.  As a result, these women can experience infertility and bone loss due to abnormal hormone levels.

But researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston found that replacing leptin, a hormone usually made by cells that store fat, could revert the loss of periods.

In the study, 20 amenorrheic women between the ages of 18 and 35 were either given a synthetic form of leptin or a placebo for 36 weeks.  Out of 10 women who received the hormone, seven of them began menstruating and four of the seven were found to be ovulating.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


500-Calorie Hormone Diet 'Could Be Dangerous,' Critics Say 

Jeffrey Hamilton/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A diet involving hormone injections that has been around for decades is gaining new traction after it was featured on a national talk show.

Dr. Oz featured the 500-calorie diet that relies on injections of the pregnancy hormone HCG on his show. Some critics of the diet are concerned because people are particularly responsive to an issue when they see a doctor on television speaking about it.

The problem, says dietitian Carla Wolper at Columbia University, is that the diet doesn't work and could be dangerous. Professionals that work with people dealing with obesity would never consider using anything like that, she added.

Five hundred calories a day is near starvation, and HCG injections, which Wolper calls an expensive scam, preys on vulnerable people.

The FDA, having approved three HCG products currently on the market, told ABC News in a statement that since the 1970s the "FDA has required labeling of HCG to state that HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. Numerous clinical trials have shown HCG to be ineffectual in producing weight loss."

The FDA also listed the potential health risks associated with HCG use including blood clots, depression, swelling, and the potentially life-threatening condition known as Ovarian hyperstimulation, a syndrome of sudden ovarian enlargement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio