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31-10-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Genetic test may predict early menopause


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MedWire News: UK research shows that four genetic loci previously associated with normal variations in menopausal age are also predictive of early menopause (EM).

"It is estimated that a woman's ability to conceive decreases on average 10 years before she starts the menopause," said lead researcher Anna Murray from the University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School.

"Therefore, those who are destined to have an EM and delay childbearing until their 30s are more likely to have problems conceiving," she added.

Murray and colleagues examined whether four recently identified genetic loci with associations with the variation in normal-age menopause (40-60 years), could also predict EM. They used data for 2,118 women whose menopause occurred early (under 46 years old), and 1,941 matched controls whose menopause occurred after 45 years of age.

All four variants were associated with an increased odds of EM, and women with the greatest number of risk alleles (eight alleles, 3.0 percent of women), had a 4.1-fold increased risk for EM compared with women with the lowest number of risk alleles (two or three alleles, 4.5 percent).

"These findings are the first stage in developing an easy and relatively inexpensive genetic test which could help the one in 20 UK women who may be affected by EM," concluded Murray.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy