FYI from the NHLBI Index

May 2004: Vol. 5, Issue 1
Feature Articles

    First National Sleep Conference Explored Sleep's Role in
    Public Health

    Women's Health Initiative: Estrogen-Alone Study is Stopped, Participants Begin Follow-up Phase

    First National Sleep Conference Explored Sleep's Role in
    Public Health

    Evidence linking sleep with behavior, mood, and learning continues to accumulate. Now, scientists are finding that reduced or disrupted sleep appears to increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The first national sleep conference, "Frontiers of Knowledge in Sleep & Sleep Disorders _ Opportunities for Improving Health and Quality of Life," was held March 29 and 30 on the NIH campus. It addressed the latest evidence regarding sleep and sleep disorders, and explored ways to improve public health and safety.

    National Sleep Conference LogoSponsored by the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), which is a component of the NHLBI, the conference was attended by more than 400 health care providers, public health and education experts, policy makers, patient advocates, and sleep medicine specialists. Conference cosponsors were the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Insomnia Association, the American Sleep Apnea Association, the Narcolepsy Network, the National Sleep Foundation, the NIH Office of Rare Diseases, the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation, and the Sleep Research Society.

    The conference provided a forum for experts from a variety of fields to take an interdisciplinary, systematic approach to bridging the gap between knowledge and effective health care. Participants identified populations at risk and opportunities for and barriers to improving public health. Their recommendations will be used to formulate a national action plan for implementing clinical practice changes and to expand the public's knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to sleep to improve public health and quality of life.

    The archived videocast of the conference is available. Visit the NCSDR Web site for more information on sleep and sleep disorders research.

    Women's Health Initiative: Estrogen-Alone Study is Stopped, Participants Begin Follow-up Phase

    Participants in the estrogen-alone study of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a large multi-center trial, have now begun the follow-up phase of the study, after the NIH stopped the active component of the trial.

    NIH logoAfter considering the data, the NIH concluded that estrogen alone has no effect (either increase or decrease) on heart disease, a key question of the study. However, estrogen alone appears to increase the risk of stroke and decrease the risk of hip fracture. No increased risk of breast cancer was observed during the course of the study. (JAMA, 2004; 291:1701-1712.)

    Another component of the WHI, a trial of estrogen plus progestin, also was stopped early, in July 2002, because the risks were found to outweigh the benefits. (JAMA, 2002; 288:321-333.)

    The NIH is advising women to continue to follow the FDA guidance regarding hormone therapy, which is that postmenopausal women who use or are considering using estrogen or estrogen plus progestin should discuss the risks and benefits with their physicians. The products are approved therapies for relief from moderate to severe hot flashes and from symptoms of vulvar and vaginal atrophy

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