Pat did a great job this week. Watch here.

Yesterday, Pat and I did a segment on Good Morning America’s health program. I think it went well. Check it out here.

I was a guest on Dr. Ronald Hoffman’s show on WOR. Listen to the podcast.

The new book!

Got a copy of it this week and it looks fabulous. I liked the previous cover a lot and didn’t think the new one could compare but it is even better. The colors really stand out.
Pub date is Sept 14th and there will be lots of radio and TV to go with that so stay tuned…

I understand why women would want to take estrogen to relieve really bad hot flashes, and many doctors think that it’s worth the risk IF you take a low dose for only a couple of years around the time of menopause.  But I am always surprised when otherwise well-informed and health-conscious women take estrogen strictly for cosmetic reasons — specifically to keep their skin looking younger. There’s no science behind that and the risks outweigh the benefits for many women.

A new paper presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer meeting in Boston confirms this. Dermatologist Margaret E. Parsons of the University of California at Davis in Sacramento reviewed many studies and concluded that estrogen is less effective than  cosmetic procedures (performed by dermatologists, of course) or even topical creams containing retinoids.  She also says using sunscreen is the best way to protect aging skin.

It’s certainly true that estrogen improves women’s skin. During pregnancy estrogen levels zoom, and many women notice that their skin is glowing. After menopause, skin seems drier and less elastic. That’s partly because of the loss of estrogen but it’s also because of the effects of aging, genetics and damage from smoking and sun exposure. Taking estogen won’t fix the environmental damage.

The jury’s not totally in on this question, however. Dr. Parsons said further research is needed to see how the timing and duration of estrogen therapy affects skin. It’s also possible that estrogen might work better on skin in on some parts of the body (where environmental damage is less severe) but not on other parts. She cited one study that showed that applying topical estrogen to sun-damaged facial skin and sun-protected skin on the hip of post-menopausal women resulted in stimulated collagen production and less wrinkling in the sun-protected hip skin, but no noticeable improvement in the sun-damaged facial skin.

In the meantime, enjoy the beach but don’t forget the sunscreen.

A few months ago, Pat and I shifted the focus of our newsweek.com column to issues generally affecting women rather than simply women’s health. We’ve been getting a tremendous response, especially when we write about two topics — marriage and divorce. Our column about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law drew huge numbers of viewers as well. Which drives home the point that no matter what else is going on in the world, we are most interested in issues that affect us personally. And nothing is more personal than marriage and divorce.

A friend who is struggling to finish a book wished on Facebook that bookwriting could be more like sitting in a cafe in Paris. Of course, it isn’t,  as the responses to her posts confirm. I said bookwriting is more like sitting in a dank basement with unknown creatures nipping at your ankles. Another author/friend, who lives in Paris, agreed it’s basement bad — EVEN in Paris. I remember when Pat and I were working on the first version of the menopause book, there was a point when I just wanted to forget the whole thing. It seemed overwhelming, not unlike that moment in labor when you want to go home and forget motherhood. But like labor, book writing ultimately results in something you can be proud of. I am eager to see galleys of the new edition! To get back to the motherhood analogy, it’s a lot easier the second time around….

Given the demographics of The New York Times audience, it’s not surprising that a story about living longer made the front page today. Scientists now know that monkeys on a calorie restricted diet live longer than monkeys who eat pretty much everything they want. Next up: a reality show called The Biggest Loser: Primate Version?