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Study finds genetic links to age of first menstrual period and menopause
Date:5/17/2009

udent in the HSPH Department of Epidemiology while conducting the research. "Insights into the genetic factors influencing the timing of menarche and natural menopause might shed light on normal reproductive function and the prevention of the diseases associated with these two traits."

Daniel Chasman, Director of Computational Biology in the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at BWH, said: "The collaboration of the WGHS and the NHS represents a great example of how large cohorts with genome-wide data can complement each other. While only one locus reached near genome-wide significance in the NHS alone, the meta-analysis of combined data had much more statistical power and revealed a total of two loci for timing of menarche and four for timing of menopause." Chasman, also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, added, "Of the loci for timing of menopause, three were already strong but not proven candidates in the NHS; these loci reached genome-wide significance in the WGHS alone, supplementing the meta-analysis by a second mode of validation through replication. The remaining locus, for timing of menopause, would not have been identified, even as a candidate, without the joint power of these two cohorts working together. Future collaborations will hopefully continue to leverage the combined power of the two cohorts for association studies directed at other clinical characteristics."

The NHS was begun in 1976 to investigate the potential long term consequences of the use of oral contraceptives. The studies were soon expanded to include diet and nutrition, in recognition of their roles in the development of chronic diseases. The research continues today with more than 116,000 women enrolled in the study.

The WGHS was announced in 2006 as a survey of genetic differences among 28,000 initially healthy American women who had already been tracked for over a decade for the development of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, a
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Contact: Christina Roache
croache@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-6052
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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