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Science Briefing

Estrogen may ease psychosis

August 09, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Estrogen may ease the symptoms of schizophrenia in women with severe disease, Australian researchers reported Tuesday in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Researchers started focusing on estrogen's links to schizophrenia about two decades ago when it became clear that female patients typically fell ill an average of about five years after males. Symptoms in women also tend to worsen after childbirth and menopause, when estrogen levels are lower, and ease during menstruation and pregnancy, when hormone levels are high.

In the study, 56 schizophrenic women given an estrogen patch in addition to standard medications for one month had significantly fewer psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions and movement disorders, than the 46 women getting a placebo patch.

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