A new study shows evidence that scientists could determine when menopause will start for women, decades in advance of the event.
Iranian scientists are presenting their findings to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference this week in Rome. While the study is continuing, the researchers are finding their predictions thus far have been accurate within four months.
Researchers started with blood tests from 266 women ranged in age from 20 to 40. These samples were tested for the amount of AMH, anti-Mullerian Hormone. This level changes according to how many eggs are left in a woman’s ovaries. Over the following six years, the scientists followed up with two more blood tests as well as physical exams.
So far 63 of the women participating in the study have reached menopause and the predictions given by the scientists have been on the money, within the four month margin of error. The study was begun in 1998 and will be continuing as the women are all followed to when they reach menopause.
Dr. Ramezani Tehrani, associate professor and lead researcher on the study, works with the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran. He has high hopes for the research in aiding women in planning their futures, including their pregnancies.
“If our model is validated, then women in their 20s could take a blood test and we could provide them with a good estimate of what her age will be at menopause,” he said.
Since women typically run out of eggs about ten years prior to menopause, they would be able to determine how long they had to conceive before it would be too late – if the study’s results continue to bear out the initial findings.
It will be another five or six years before the findings could have predicted enough women’s menopausal onset to be conclusive.
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