Hormone replacement therapy could help women to beat heart disease, a controversial study has revealed.
Women using one type of HRT were shown to have healthier arteries than those using other forms of the drug or receiving no treatment.
Doctors say the findings show that millions of women may have been scared into abandoning the therapy unnecessarily.
The study, by the Women's Health Initiative and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 1,064 women aged between 50 and 59, taking either Premarin - an oestrogen-only HRT normally reserved for those who have had hysterectomies - or a placebo pill, over seven years.
A year after treatment had ended, each woman was given a CT scan to measure the levels of calcium plaque in their arteries.
Researchers found the HRT group was 30 to 40 per cent less likely to have coronary artery calcium than the placebo group.
Calcium in the arteries is considered an early warning sign of blocked blood vessels and heart disease.
The study also found that younger post-menopausal women using oestrogen-only HRT built up significantly less calcium deposit in their arteries than those of the same age not receiving treatment.
Source - Daily Mail