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What is the Women's Health Initiative?

The Women's Health Initiative is the largest medical study ever in women.  Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, it will study 125,000 women over age 50 for 10 years.  We asked Dr. Vivian Pinn, Director of the NIH Office of Women's Health Research why this study is so important.

"The importance of the Women's Health Initiative is that it should help us finally learn whether or not taking hormones for post menopausal women really increases the risk for having breast cancer.  And probably as important, if not more important, if taking hormones in the post menopausal state will actually prevent death, or decrease our risk of death from cardiovascular disease."

How does the Women's Health Initiative differ from the other studies on women and heart disease?

"The Women's Health Initiative differs from most studies that we've seen reports on, because it is a prospective controlled clinical trial.  That is the major difference between this and manh of the confusing reports we've seen from observational studies or retrospective studies."

Final results from the Women's Health Initiative are not expected for another 5 to 7 years.

Created: 11/9/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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