Skip to comments.The Women’s Health Initiative and the Body Politic
Posted on 04/11/2011 7:49:46 PM PDT by neverdem
In 1898, German doctors fed fresh cow ovaries to a young woman suffering from severe hot flashes after having her ovaries removed. It was a milestone of sorts in womens medicine, leading to crude hormone treatments and eventually commercially prepared drugs to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
It was also the beginning of a seemingly endless controversy about the safety and necessity of drug treatments for women at the end of their reproductive years.
By the 1960s, pharmaceutical companies and doctors were promoting hormones as a way for women to stay feminine forever, even as scientists and womens health activists argued that more study was needed to assess the risks of the drugs, including cancer. They also warned that menopause should not be medicalized or treated like a disease.
All that debate was supposed to end in 1991, when...
There have been other surprising results. The studies of calcium and vitamin D failed to show a significant benefit, and the research into low-fat diets did not find a reduction in breast cancer or heart disease...
But even as researchers in womens health begin to move beyond the menopause hormone debate, its become clear that history is beginning to repeat itself around the issue of another hormone, vitamin D. Doctors are recommending unproven tests to identify vitamin D deficiencies and consumers are gobbling down megadoses of the supplement, convinced that its good for the heart, for preventing cancer and for overall health. Its all happening despite a lack of any clear evidence that taking vitamin D in pill form is good for you.
I think its really important that the enthusiasm not outpace the evidence, said Dr. Manson, who is now conducting the largest-ever randomized trial of vitamin D. I think its important to wait for these randomized trials.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...