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Bea and colleagues [1] have recently reported on results from a Women’s Health Initiative (WHI)-based sub-study that investigated possible effects of hormone therapy (HT) on lean mass, incidence of falls and fractures. The mean age at baseline was 63 years, and the mean time since menopause ranged from 13.3 to 22.5 years. Women were randomly assigned either to estrogen plus progestogen ([i]n[/i] = 534) or control ([i]n[/i] = 471), or to estrogen alone ([i]n[/i] =453) or control ([i]n[/i] = 474), all receiving dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans to estimate body composition. Falls and fracture occurrence were obtained by annual self-report. Six years post-randomization, the lean body mass did not differ among studied groups. Although lean body mass positively influenced bone mineral density, independent of HT status, the preserved lean body mass observed in the HT arms in the first 3 years did not significantly contribute to models evaluating HT influence on falls and fractures between years 3 and 6. Women taking at least 80% of their medication in the HT arms demonstrated fewer falls compared with those taking placebo; this difference was not attributable to change in lean body mass. The authors concluded that, although lean body mass was preserved with HT during the first 3 years, HT did not ameliorate the age-related, long-term (6 years) loss in body mass.


  • Peter Chedraui
    President, Ecuadorian Menopause Society (Nucleo Guayas)
    Guayaquil, Ecuador


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