New research suggests that prescribing the female hormone estrogen to women with emotional disorders might protect them from contracting schizophrenia. Scientists in Tel Aviv “have reported findings suggesting that restoring normal levels of estrogen may work as a protective agent in menopausal women vulnerable to schizophrenia. Their work, based on an animal model of menopausal psychosis, was recently reported in the journal Psychopharmacology. ‘We’ve known for some time that when the level of estrogen is low, vulnerability to psychotic symptoms increases and anti-psychotic drugs are less likely to work. Now, our pre-clinical findings show why this might be happening,’ says Prof. Weiner. The researchers “removed the ovaries of female rats to induce menopause-like low levels of estrogen and showed that this led to schizophrenia-like behavior. The researchers then tried to eliminate this abnormal behavior with an estrogen replacement treatment or with the antipsychotic drug haloperidol. Estrogen replacement therapy effectively alleviated schizophrenia-like behavior but haloperidol had no effect on its own.”
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