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Penn study reveals genetics impact risk of early menopause among some female smokers
Date:2/5/2014

PHILADELPHA - New research is lighting up yet another reason for women to quit smoking. In a study published online in the journal Menopause, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania report the first evidence showing that smoking causes earlier signs of menopause in the case of heavy smokers, up to nine years earlier than average in white women with certain genetic variations.

Though previous studies have shown that smoking hastens menopause by approximately one to two years regardless of race or genetic background, this study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that genetic background is significantly associated with a further increased risk of menopause in some white women who smoke. No statistically significant relationships between smoking, the gene variants under investigation and earlier menopause were observed in African American women.

While symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, anxiety and insomnia can result in discomfort, embarrassment, and irritability, the onset of menopause is also associated with risks of coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, and death from all causes. On average, women enter menopause at around 50 years of age. However, the research team now reports that menopause may begin at an earlier age in white female smokers who are carriers of two different gene variants. While the genes themselves do not result in early onset menopause, variations of the genes CYP3A4*1B and CYP1B1*3 were found to increase the risk of entering menopause at an earlier age in white smokers. The genetic variants were present in seven and 62 percent of white women in the study population, respectively.

"This study could shed new light on how we think about the reproductive risks of smoking in women. We already know that smoking causes early menopause in women of all races, but these new results show that if you are a white smoker with these specific genetic varian
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Contact: Katie Delach
katie.delach@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5964
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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