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February 22, 2002

Hormone Replacement Therapy May Help Prevent Chronic Wounds in Elderly Patients

(Philadelphia, PA) -- The question of whether post-menopausal women should subscribe to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of the most controversial issues in medicine today, as scientists debate the benefits and risks associated with taking estrogen over an extended period.

Now, research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has revealed another possible plus for HRT: Older patients taking estrogen may be significantly less likely to suffer from two of the most common and slow-to-heal wounds that afflict the elderly: pressure ulcers (often described as "bed sores") and venous leg ulcers.

The finding by David Margolis, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Penn, is published this week in the journal The Lancet.

For the Study, Margolis reviewed the records of 44,195 female patients.

"Our research indicates that patients receiving HRT are around 35 percent less likely to develop a venous leg ulcer or pressure ulcer, which we view as early evidence that HRT may have a place in preventing chronic wounds," said Margolis, who holds a secondary appointment in Penn's Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis, Muscular, Skeletal and Skin Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Others who participated in the study are: Warren Bilker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Jill Knauss, MA, in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.








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