May 30, 2024
Life Sciences | Tea Leaves
  • A study published in JAMA Network Open, drawing from data collected through the Apple Research App involving over 71,000 women, reveals a concerning trend: the age at which girls in the United States experience their first period is declining, while the time it takes for their menstrual cycles to become regular is increasing, suggesting deteriorating reproductive and population health. Conducted as part of the Apple Women’s Health Study in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the research shows a decrease in the average age of menarche from 12.5 years in 1950-1969 to 11.9 years in 2000-2005, alongside a rise in early menarche cases and a decline in cycle regularity post-menarche. Early menarche and irregular cycles are linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infertility. While factors such as body mass index (BMI) may explain part of the trend, the precise causes remain multifactorial and could include influences like diet, physical activity, stress, and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and air pollutants. (Articles here, here, here, and here)