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John S. Green, Peter W. Grandjean, Shelly Weise, Stephen F. Crouse and J. James Rohack

Although endurance exercise and supplemental estrogen have both been shown to improve serum lipid cardiac risk profiles in postmenopausal women, data regarding a possible synergistic influence are scarce and inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to determine whether such a synergistic influence could be demonstrated. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol (TC), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), HDL2-C, HDL3-C, LDL-C, and triglycerides (TG) were obtained from postmenopausal women (N = 45) in each of 4 groups: currently exercising and taking estrogen replacement, exercising and not taking estrogen, sedentary and taking estrogen, and sedentary and not taking estrogen. HDL-C was on average 21% higher (p < .05) and the HDL-C:LDL-C ratio on average 45% higher (p < .05) in the exercise-plus-estrogen group than in any of the other 3 groups. It was concluded that the combination of endurance exercise and estrogen replacement might be associated with better lipid coronary risk profiles in postmenopausal women than either intervention alone.

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Valerie J. Wirth and Joe Gieck

Growth hormone is one of the many dangerous and illegal ergogenic aids currently used by athletes. In those who suffer from a growth hormone deficiency, supplementation does produce positive results: Muscle volume increases while adipose tissue volume is significantly reduced. Growth hormone supplementation can also lead to strength increases in the deficient population (2, 6, 13) as well as in the elderly population (16, 18, 25). In healthy young men, growth hormone supplementation has been shown to increase fat-free mass and to decrease fat mass. However, these changes are not accompanied by strength gains (5, 7, 23, 24). This finding, coupled with the numerous side effects associated with the drug, presents a strong case for athletes to abandon its use as an ergogenic aid.

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Jennifer L. Copeland, Samuel Y. Chu and Mark S. Tremblay

Women experience significant changes in endocrine function during aging. Decreasing levels of anabolic hormones may be associated with musculoskeletal atrophy and decrease in function that is observed in older women and, as a result, there has been an increase in the use of pharmacological hormone therapies. It is difficult to distinguish, however, between physiological changes that are truly age related and those that are associated with lifestyle factors such as physical activity participation. Some research has shown that circulating levels of anabolic hormones such as DHEA(S) and IGF-I in older women are related to physical activity, muscle function, and aerobic power. Exercise-intervention studies have generally shown that increasing age blunts the acute hormonal response to exercise, although this might be explained by a lower exercise intensity in older women. There have been relatively few studies that examine hormonal adaptations to exercise training. Physical activity might have an effect on hormone action as a result of changes in protein carriers and receptors, and future research needs to clarify the effect of age and exercise on these other components of the endocrine system. The value and safety of hormone supplements must be examined, especially when used in combination with an exercise program.

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Helen M. Binkley and Lauren E. Rudd

RCT pre/post Completed: N = 35 AE: n = 13 LE: n = 12 C: n = 10 AE: 68.69 (4.70) LE: 66.08 (3.37) C: 68.80 (5.41) In: >60 y and based on medical assessment Ex: taking hormone supplements; disease or condition excluding physical training Muscle strength: Bench press—AE, C: no sig. change, LE: improved