Diabetes off the Charts, Genes Link Fat and Early Puberty

Strollerderby

Posted by heatherturgeon on November 23rd, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Early Puberty Diabetes and GenesFat signals puberty onset

Remember all the talk a while back about early puberty — girls as young as 7 and 8 sprouting breasts? A study in the journal Nature Genetics reports that researchers have pinpointed 30 genes linked to early-onset puberty.

The researchers studied over 100,000 women in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, and located genes that were associated with the age of first menstruation.

The genes they zeroed in on link the downward trend in age of puberty with the rising obesity epidemic. Here’s what they found:

Of the 30 genes related to the age of puberty, four were linked to BMI (body mass index), three with metabolism, and three with hormone regulation.

Why would being overweight send a girl into earlier puberty? Scientists think it might because larger fat stores send signals to the brain that the body is ready (with enough resources) to start reproduction.

Chemicals in fat trip metabolic pathways — tricking the brain into thinking it’s time to get busy having babies.

The problem, for one, is that girls who go through puberty earlier are at greater risk for certain cancers, probably owing to a greater overall exposure to hormones like estrogen.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.