(Philadelphia, PA) -- The question of whether post-menopausal women should subscribe to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of the most controversial issues in medicine today, as scientists debate the benefits and risks associated with taking estrogen over an extended period.

Now, research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has revealed another possible plus for HRT: Older patients taking estrogen may be significantly less likely to suffer from two of the most common and slow-to-heal wounds that afflict the elderly: pressure ulcers (often described as "bed sores") and venous leg ulcers.

The finding by David Margolis, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Penn, is published this week in the journal The Lancet.

For the Study, Margolis reviewed the records of 44,195 female patients.

"Our research indicates that patients receiving HRT are around 35 percent less likely to develop a venous leg ulcer or pressure ulcer, which we view as early evidence that HRT may have a place in preventing chronic wounds," said Margolis, who holds a secondary appointment in Penn's Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Arthritis, Muscular, Skeletal and Skin Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Others who participated in the study are: Warren Bilker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Jill Knauss, MA, in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.


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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2016, Penn Medicine provided $393 million to benefit our community.