Estrogen To Fight Brain Aneurysms? - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Estrogen To Fight Brain Aneurysms?

Posted: Updated:

CHICAGO (Ivanhoe Newswire) - In the heads of millions of Americans, they sit silently and can burst without warning. Brain aneurysms rupture in about 30,000 people every year, killing or disabling many. Women are at a higher risk for aneurysms than men. Now, researchers are taking a closer look at how a major change in a woman's life could be to blame.

"The left side of my body got numb," explains Sande Skinner, a woman who once had a brain aneurysm. "It didn't feel right."

Sande Skinner thought she was having a stroke.

"It's a giant aneurysm," said Skinner. "The little sucker was right behind my right optic nerve."

If ruptured, brain aneurysms can lead to stroke or death. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure and possibly lower estrogen levels caused by menopause. Two of the largest brain aneurysm trials in the world found most happen in menopausal women.

"Average age of rupture of all patients with aneurysms is age 52, which just so happens to be the average age of menopause," Michael Chen, M.D., a Neurointerventionalist at Rush University Medical tells Ivanhoe.

 Dr. Michael Chen said severe drops in estrogen may contribute to the weakening of artery walls. He conducted a study of 60 women with aneurysms and found compared to the general population, they were less likely to have taken birth control or to be on hormone replacement therapy. He believes estrogen treatments could help prevent women from developing aneurysms.

"Protect them from the effects of these severe changes and hormones on their blood vessels," explains Dr. Chen.

Now, the doctor is enrolling a new trial to put his theory to the test. He'll use low-dose hormone replacement therapy in pre-menopausal women in hopes of stopping aneurysms from forming.

After three surgeries and several stents, Sande's aneurysm is no longer a threat.

"I'm still walking and talking," said Skinner.

The doctor hopes his research will help wipe out the threat for every woman.

Dr. Chen's study will start off with about 40 to 50 women with treated and untreated aneurysms. He hopes it will eventually expand into a multi-center trial around the country. Go to our website for more information on how to participate.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

ANEURYSMS: An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of an artery and if it grows to a large size it can burst and cause bleeding or even death even though there may not be any symptoms beforehand. Aneurysms can form in various parts of the body but the most common area is the aorta, the main artery traveling from the heart. (Source: www.nih.gov)

SIGNS: It has been estimated that about half of all aneurysms burst and typically there are no signs up until the aneurysm ruptures. While sudden death would be the most obvious and severe sign of a ruptured aneurysm, other times the signs are mistaken as something else and treatment is not sought. Some signs of a ruptured brain aneurysm are:

  • A sudden extremely painful headache is the most common sign of a ruptured brain aneurysm.
  • Vision changes, eye lid drooping, lethargy, speech impairment and seizures may also be the result of a burst brain aneurysm and some of these signs may also signify a stroke caused by the rupture. (Source: www.womenshealthresearch.org)  

Unfortunately, aortic aneurysms tend have more fatal consequences when they rupture than brain aneurysms. More than 90% of ruptured aortic aneurysms are fatal so the best chance of survival is detection of the bulge before it bursts. There usually are no symptoms unless the aneurysm grows large enough that puts pressure on other organs, but there are some signs of a ruptured aortic aneurysm and it is extremely important to call 911 immediately if you experience these:

  • Sudden and intense upper back or chest pain, such as a ripping or tearing sensation.
  • Weakness or trouble standing, passing out, or feelings of dizziness.
  • Confusion and anxiety (Source: www.hearthealthywomen.org)

 RISK FOR WOMEN: Women are actually less likely to have an aortic aneurysm than men with the aneurysms 5 to 10 times more common in men. However, as women age their risk for an aortic aneurysm increases greatly, especially if they are smokers (Source: www.hearthealthywomen.org).  On the other hand, women are twice as likely to develop cerebral aneurysms as men and their risk increases over the 35 years old. It is not known exactly why women are more prone to develop cerebral aneurysms but since the aneurysms are more often found in women close to or experiencing menopause, it is though that declining estrogen levels might make women more vulnerable. This has led some doctors to believe hormone replacement therapy will help to lower the risk but the benefits of this are still unclear. The best thing women can do is be aware of their risk and quit smoking. (Source: www.womenshealthresearch.org)

For More Information, Please Contact:

Deb Song, Associate Director of Media Relations
Rush University Medical Center
(312) 942-0588
deb_song@rush.edu

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Migraine Relief: Stopping Pain & Relieving Pressure

    Friday, April 18 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-18 21:15:06 GMT
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
    Meredith Messerli is thankful she can study without pain. The college freshman spent two years of her life battling severe migraines.more>>
  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
  • Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-08 21:15:13 GMT
    CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Eric Robinson alive after he went into cardiac arrest. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
    A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest. CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
  • Helping High Risk Hearts

    Helping High Risk Hearts

    Monday, April 7 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-07 21:15:09 GMT
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
  • Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Friday, April 4 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-04 21:15:07 GMT
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
  • Predicting Bad Hearts

    Predicting Bad Hearts

    Thursday, April 3 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-03 21:15:09 GMT
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner.more>>
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 600,000 die of heart disease. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner; and they did it by pure accident.more>>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.