Keck Medicine of USC has launched a clinical trial to study the effect of a novel estrogen-containing hormone replacement therapy on postmenopausal cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.

Estrogen — a hormone produced by the ovaries — protects the heart and brain from damage. When menopause stops the production of the hormone, it leaves these organs vulnerable to atherosclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This may explain why nearly all postmenopausal women develop heart disease, and why they have dramatically higher rates of cognitive decline when compared to premenopausal women.

The researchers hope to confirm whether providing postmenopausal women with estrogen would help to protect them from these serious health problems.

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