Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

New Clue to Predict Diseases in Women?

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 9, 2012 -- Evaluating blood levels of a hormone made in the brain and the gut may help predict diseases in women, according to new research.

High levels of the hormone neurotensin appear linked to women’s risk of diabetes, breast cancer, and cardiovascular disease such as heart disease or stroke, according to Swedish researchers.

The researchers looked at levels of a substance called proneurotensin. It turns into neurotensin.

"Proneurotensin is the first blood biomarker ever that can independently identify elevated risk of three major disease threats to women's health," says Olle Melander, MD, PhD, professor of internal medicine at Lund University in Malmo, Sweden. He led the study.

The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

About the Gut Hormone

Neurotensin is released after meals, especially after eating high-fat foods. It's involved in the digestion of food, the speed at which food moves through the gut, body temperature, and pain sensation, Melander says.

More recently, he says, scientists have found it is involved in regulating appetite and feeling full. Some research suggests that neurotensin release is disturbed in obese people.

Now, Melander and others think that the hormone may also affect the risk of heart attack, other cardiovascular diseases, and breast cancer.

Gut Hormone and Disease Study

Melander and his team focused on men and women enrolled in the Malmo Study. It included nearly 29,000 men and women from Malmo, Sweden.

For this study, the researchers focused on 4,632 men and women who had blood levels of proneurotensin measured between 1991 and 1994.

They were then an average age of 57. The researchers followed these men and women until January 2009.

They looked to see who developed diabetes, cardiovascular diseases including heart disease and stroke, or breast cancer, and who died.

For women, but not men, higher levels of the hormone were linked with getting diabetes, breast cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as dying.

Overall, the increased risk was 50% for death from cardiovascular disease and 33% for getting cardiovascular disease. But those with the highest levels had an even higher risk.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror