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Removing Ovaries Doubles Risk of Parkinson's

You may be familiar about a study I posted some time ago that debunked the need for pap smears after a hysterectomy, the number of which already far exceeds the new patients who actually need one. The unfortunate tragedy that often occurs with most women: They elect to have their ovaries removed during the same procedure.

Many claim this procedure is usually done to prevent ovarian cancer. The big problem with removing a woman's ovaries, however, is that it virtually eliminates the possibility of a woman ever being able to normalize her hormone function naturally. A new Mayo Clinic study has discovered another terrible and avoidable risk when women opt to have their ovaries removed: They double their risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

Seems estrogen protects certain kinds of nerve cells, including those in the substantia nigra, a sector of the brain that affects voluntary movements. Those who suffer from Parkinson's, according to a study of 5,000 patients, show degeneration in this area, however.

About half of the women surveyed had at least one ovary removed and some 1,200 had both of them removed. Of those who had the procedure, 43 women showed Parkinson's like symptoms, and 25 of them developed the full-stage disease. Only 18 women of the women whose ovaries were not removed contracted Parkinson's.

That's why I strongly recommend, if you are told that you need a hysterectomy, make sure you get at least one other medical opinion. Often, women who were told that they needed to have this done find out that it may not be necessary after all.

Nature April 14, 2005

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