Brinkmann Gynaecology

Scientists pinpoint genes that bring on menopause

British scientists have identified more than 40 regions of the human genome that are involved in governing the age at which a woman goes in to menopause.

The study found that two thirds of the regions contain genes that act to keep DNA healthy, and therefore delay the menopause, by repairing damage that accumulates with age.  Further research into the mechanisms could lead to better treatment for conditions linked to menopause, including infertility.

The study also gave the first genetic confirmation of the believe that an earlier menopause reduces a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.  Researches predicted that every year by which the menopause is delayed increases the risk of developing breast cancer by 6 per cent.

The work, by the Universities of Cambridge and Exeter, is published in Nature Genetics.

This article originally appeared in The Times, Tuesday September 29 2015