Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UK researchers develop way of predicting a woman’s ’reproductive’ age

17.06.2004


UK researchers have shown a strong direct relationship between ovarian volume and the number of primordial follicles (eggs) remaining in the ovaries of women of reproductive age. The measurement of ovarian volume by transvaginal ultrasound will enable an accurate prediction of the age of menopause and hence a woman’s reproductive age.



They say that the possibility of making an accurate assessment of ovarian reserve will revolutionize the care of women seeking assisted conception, those who have had treatment for childhood cancer and women who may want to delay a family for personal or professional reasons.

"In essence, it means we now have the potential to be able to tell a woman how fast her biological clock is ticking and how much time she has before it will run down," said lead author Dr. Hamish Wallace, consultant paediatric oncologist at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, Scotland and a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.


The findings are reported today (Thursday 17 June) in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction[1].

The human ovary contains a fixed pool of primordial eggs, which form in the fourth month of pregnancy. They peak at several million in the five-month foetus then start to decline. By birth, this number has already fallen significantly and the decline continues relentlessly. When the number reaches around 25,000 (corresponding to an average age of 37 years) the decline accelerates until numbers are down to around 1,000 follicles in a peri-menopausal woman.

Dr. Hamish Wallace and Dr Thomas Kelsey of the School of Computer Sciences at the University of St Andrews, developed their technique for measuring a woman’s ’bioclock’ by building on other research on follicle decline with age, and the relationship between follicle numbers and ovarian volume. They then applied the latest mathematical and computer models/analysis[2] in such a way that they could describe the follicle population decline for women entering the menopause early or late.

"We already know from published data using transvaginal ultrasound to measure the volume of ovaries, that they shrink as a woman ages," said Dr Wallace. "What we have done is obtain a highly significant correlation between primordial follicle numbers and ovarian volume. We have shown that ovarian volume in women aged from 25 to 51, as measured by tranvaginal ultrasound, may be used to estimate accurately how many follicles (eggs) are left and therefore what is the woman’s ’reproductive age’."

Said Dr. Wallace: "The age of menopause varies from woman to woman and there is currently no reliable test of ovarian reserve for an individual woman that will predict accurately her remaining reproductive life-span. What we have done is to come up with a method that may allow us to predict for a woman (aged 25–50 years) what ovarian reserves she has and at what age she is likely to experience the menopause."

He said they had used two inherent assumptions in their calculations – both shown in other research to be reliable – that variation in age at menopause is due to wide variation in the number of follicles present at birth, and that ovarian volume between the ages of 25 and 50 is directly related to the remaining number of follicles.

The researchers are currently involved in clinical studies on young women successfully treated for cancer (where fertility may be impaired or lost through treatment) in the hope of providing them with more accurate fertility advice allowing them to realistically plan having a family.

They are also setting up long-term studies to follow young healthy women with regular assessments of ovarian volume until they reach the menopause.

"The possibility of providing a direct and easily reproducible assessment of ovarian reserve and reproductive age through the transvaginal measurement of ovarian volume for all interested women would be a real advance," said Dr Wallace. "It opens the door to the possibility of screening women for early ovarian ageing. These women may be at increased risk to their general health from the effects of having an early menopause."


[1] Ovarian reserve and reproductive age may be determined from measurement of ovarian volume by transvaginal sonography. Human Reproduction. DOI:10.1093/humrep/deh285.

[2] A full explanation of the methods used – the Faddy-Gosden model of ovarian follicle decline, the Runge–Kutta numerical method of estimating human oocyte radiosensitivity, and the Maple computer algebra system used to solve the differential equation that expressed the rate of change in the follicle population from birth – is contained in the research paper. Examples of predictions of ovarian volume and reproductive age compared with chronological age are given.

Margaret Willson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.eshre.com
http://www3.oup.co.uk/eshre/press-release/jul041.pdf

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>