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Solving The Puzzle Of Hormone Replacement

Bethany Hays, MD, FACOG

Abstract
The human body is a community of individual cells, each of which has become specialized to support the function of the community. Each of these cells needs to act in synchrony with every other cell, and all need to know something about what is going on outside of the community of the body so that they can perform the duties needed for the safety and survival of the community. Hormones are signaling molecules that allow each cell in the body to know what is going on in the outside world and to communicate with each other to coordinate a unified response. The hypothalamus, part of the “reptilian brain,” is the part of the brain that receives and interprets information from the outside world. The organs of sense all terminate or immediately pass through this part of the brain. Interestingly, there are gender differences in sensory ability,1,2 which appear to be adaptive for procreation. The separation of the sexes for reproduction is a gamble on the part of evolution that both male and female will survive. On the other hand, it allows for increased adaptability of the group by specialization of skills. The hypothalamus is also the site of translation of that information for the pituitary (the so-called master gland) and an important area for receiving feedback information from the end organ glands, thus completing the loop of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and hypothalamic- pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axes.

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