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Study could help predict women's menopause age
New research has identified the genetic factors which affect when a women begins the menopause, which may have implications for improved infertility treatments or help women plan their pregnancies better.
A study conducted at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, saw the genetic data from nine studies, involving over 10,000 menopausal women, being analysed, with researchers identifying 20 single letter changes in genetic code which are linked to early menopause.
While the variants' effect is currently unclear, the researchers suspect they influence the ovaries or the brain.
Women begin to get less fertile ten years before they start the menopause, and can often be infertile five years before it occurs.
"In Western countries, where women tend to have children later in life and closer to menopause, age at menopause can be an important factor in whether or not a particular woman is able to become a mother," commented researcher Lisette Stolk.
Research conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, National Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard recently revealed that gene variants associated with the age women start the menopause could provide clues for potential treatments for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease.
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