Estradiol is an estrogen hormone used medically during menopause and after hysterectomies to help reduce symptoms such as hot flashes and to prevent osteoporosis (bone loss) in women, but a new paper says it is linked to cocaine addiction.

Women are more likely than men to develop an addiction, try cocaine at a younger age, use larger amounts of the drug, and suffer from overdose. A psychologist says estradiol may be why.

Using conditioned-place preference, a kind of Pavlovian conditioning used to assess the reinforcing properties of drugs, they conclude the link exists in humans. Yet despite claiming it "finally validates what scientists have long suspected", they do nothing of the kind. Mice are not little people so this is instead in the EXPLORATORY pile rather than the science one.

Psychologists sure know how to write press release titles

The reality is just another 'in mice' that needs to be appended onto the end of a lot of titles in corporate ad-driven journalism. Which may have been the goal of the press release.

Women do claim more cocaine-conditioned stimuli than males but the authors have no way to validate their belief that molecular neuroadaptations are the root. Instead, they invoke other mouse studies which found cocaine addiction is easier in female mice - written by them.

Cancer has been cured 10,000 times in mice but drugs can't get approved based on mouse studies, cell cultures, or surveys of college students who think it works.