Injections of the hormone leptin may be just what some women need to kick their reproductivesystem into action. A small study of 14 athletes who had stopped menstruatingbecause of strenuous exercise and low weight showed that menstruation was restored in 5of 8 of the women after twice-daily injections of leptin. The current study, reported in the NewEngland Journal of Medicine (September 2, 2004), used Amgen Inc's version of leptin.
Because the researchers did not inject the other 6 volunteers with placebo shots, a morethorough 2-year test of 80 women is scheduled to begin to determine whether Amgen's leptinreally works. Leptin has the potential to help women with anorexia nervosa, physicallyactive women who have stopped menstruating, and women who are very thin and do notrealize that they have a problem, according to Christos Mantzoros, MD, of Beth IsraelDeaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass.