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For the record

Magnets not shown to reduce the syptoms of menopause

On 20th February 2011 the Sunday Times carried a story headed “Magnets slipped into undies ease the menopause”.

This article described a study which “tested magnets on 35 policewomen in Dorset; 70% reported that their menopause symptoms began to ease after a month of wearing a magnetic device called LadyCare attached to their underwear.” The study has not been published in a peer reviewed journal. The scientist running the study said his research indicates that symptoms of the menopause are caused by imbalances in the autonomic nervous system and these can be countered by magnets.

Saffron Whitehead, Professor of Endocrine Physiology, St George’s University of London told us: “The most common menopausal symptom is hot flushes. These are thought to be due to loss of oestrogens affecting locally produced substances that cause our blood vessels to dilate. One of the best quantitative ways of assessing improvements in menopausal symptoms is to look at number and severity of hot flushes. Digestive problems, rate of respiration and breathing – the functions controlled by the autonomic nervous system – are not part of the spectrum of menopausal symptoms.”

Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter told us: “the study described fails to adequately control for non-specific effects, such as a placebo-response. Therefore one cannot conclude that the magnets had anything to do with the experience of the women wearing them. To the best of my knowledge, there is no good evidence to suggest that magnets can alleviate any symptoms, and that includes those of the menopause.”

Author: Sense About Science

Document type: For The Record

Published: 23 February 2011

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