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Science, Public Health, and Public Awareness: Lessons from the Women's Health Initiative

Susan Dentzer
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From The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; Arlington, VA 20815

Requests for Single Reprints: Susan Dentzer, Health Correspondent, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 2700 South Quincy Street, Suite 240, Arlington, VA 20815.

Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(4):352-353. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-138-4-200302180-00018
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In science, as in life generally, no good deed goes unpunished. One very good deed was the decision to conduct the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study on hormone therapy. Another was ending the combination estrogen and progestin arm of the trial once it became clear that many of the supposed preventive benefits of the hormone drug therapy were illusory and that for many women, the drugs were actually harmful. So it was perhaps inevitable that the July 2002 announcement of the study's end would provoke a punishing backlash.

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