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Study Finds Gene Mutation Linked to Menopause, Infertility
A study published in the journal, Cancer, in January 2013 says BRCA gene mutation is responsible for more than just breast or ovarian cancer. Women with mutations are also at risk of entering menopause at a younger age and suffering an earlier decline in fertility.
Researchers at University of California, San Francisco examined nearly 400 female carriers of the BRCA1/2 gene mutation and compared age of menopausal onset to nearly twice as many females who did not have the mutation. Women with the gene mutation entered menopause around the age of 50, while those without the mutation reported an onset of menopause, on average, at age 53. The research team also pointed out that women with the gene mutation who reported being heavy smokers entered menopause, on average, at age 46.
BRCA1/2 mutations are hereditary and are linked to breast or ovarian cancer. The good news is that scientists have found a way to screen for the BRCA1/2 genes with genetic testing of embryos (to determine risk before the child is born) and recently, a more cost effective screening of the FMR1 allele.