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NYT article alarm on menopause and weight

There is an article in the New York Times (on the website under "Science") about a researcher at UVM who has been sent to jail for fabricating data.

While the story of scientific misconduct itself is interesting, many on PeerTrainer might be interested to learn that the "researcher" in question wrote some well-known papers on the subject of weight gain and muscle loss with aging and menopause.

Some of his conclusions were that weight gain occurs with menopause (rather than with age) and can be avoided with hormone replacement. It turns out that he fabricated data for 33 of his 35 study participants!! Yet people believed it for 10 years, and his work has become part of the accepted wisdom.

So, those of you who have received medical advice based on these studies might want to re-evaluate or to ask your doctor for recommendations based on research done by other labs and scientists.


Mon. Oct 23, 11:14am

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This is fascinating. I wonder how many other experts do this for their own purposes.

Monday, October 23, 2006, 11:27 AM

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All of us wonder that. I have been a working scientist for almost 20 years and have NEVER run across something like this case (or even had suspicions), although I have run across some plagiarism problems and some plain old incompetence.


Monday, October 23, 2006, 11:44 AM

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thank you for posting this. I am so busy, not a news junkie, and love it when someone brings an interesting item to my attention.

Monday, October 23, 2006, 1:35 PM

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Thanks for the information. I read the paper regularly and missed this article.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006, 5:40 AM

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Thanks for the post. Of course, this wouldn't be a problem if we didn't look for solutions in a bottle. Menopause is a natural process and the reasons given to take HRT (hormone replacement therapy) can be accomplished by MOST women by the standard things we hear pounded into our psyche each day...exercise, lift weights, eat right, adopt measures for management of stress. We also need to come to terms with the fact that sometimes life is just uncomfortable and that is not a reason to pop a pill.

Of course there are women going through menopause that need HRT for symptoms that are unmanageable and interfere with their functioning. However, that is no the majority of American women. We have been sold a bill of goods into thinking that pharmaceuticals will cure all ills. We need to look to ourselves first.

I am 50, experiencing peri menopause. I work out, lift weights, eat my fruits and vegies. I DO take supplements in the form of vitamins, essential fatty acids, calcium, etc. I use acupuncture to help with the source of flashes and sweats. I have adopted relaxation techniques to help with stress. I also know that my body is going through a phenomonal shift and that sometimes that is uncomfortable. The best coping skill for that is an understanding of what I am going through and having a support system; like Peer Trainer and friends who understand.

Despite all those above measures, some women will need to take HRT. The standard advice for those women is to take the lowest dose to manage their symptoms and to take HRT for no longer than the time needed. Except in rare instances, women do not need to be on HRT indefinitely.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006, 8:25 AM

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