Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 24th 2015 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The age puberty starts can be a fac-
tor in developing a range of diseases
from cancer to diabetes, suggests a
Starting early or late could alter the
risk of nearly 48 separate conditions,
including the age of menopause.
The analysis of half a million people,
published in Scientific Reports, showed
early puberty increased the odds of
type 2 diabetes by 50 per cent.
The researchers said it was "aston-
ishing" that puberty was having an
impact on health in mid-life.
The team at the MRC Epidemiology
Unit at the University of Cambridge
used data from a huge study of the
health of British people---the UK
The project recorded the age of girls
first period, but a measure of the start
of puberty is harder to define in men,
so they were asked if they were earlier
or later compared to the rest of their
In girls an early puberty was defined
as starting between eight and 11, while
a late puberty started between 15 and
19. A normal puberty was between nine
and 14 in boys.
The study showed that early and late
puberty was linked to a wide range of
health conditions, such as:
• cancers including breast and cer-
• heart attacks, angina and hyper-
• early menopause, pre-eclampsia,
Hormones have been implicated in
some of the conditions, such as cancer,
although the researchers admit that
they have "very little idea" what might
contribute to diseases such as asthma.
Dr Felix Day told the BBC News Web
site: "From a biological point of view,
it s actually quite fascinating that some-
thing that happens when you re a
teenager can have an effect on diseases
that you wouldn t encounter until mid-
dle age. I find that quite astonishing."
The age of puberty is changing
around the world. In the UK it is cur-
rently starting about one month earlier
every decade. In China it is more than
four months earlier every decade.
Dr Day said this was "something
people involved in public health should
be aware of".
"The move towards earlier puberty
is an added risk factor in terms of devel-
opment of particularly metabolic dis-
However, as the study showed an
increased risk for both early and late
puberty, there could be a decrease in
the incidence of some conditions.
He added that because someone had
an early or late puberty did not mean
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Researchers at Dundee University
have discovered a new compound
which could treat malaria while pro-
tecting people from the disease and
preventing its spread, all in a single
The compound, DDD107498, was
developed by the university s Drug
Discovery Unit and the Medicines for
Scientists said the "exciting" new
drug could work well against parasites
resistant to current treatments.
Details of the discovery have been
published in the journal Nature.
The World Health Organisation
reported 200 million clinical cases of
malaria in 2013, with 584,000 people
dying from the mosquito-borne dis-
ease, most of them pregnant women
or children under five.
Concerns have been growing about
strains of malaria which are resistant
to current treatments, which have
already appeared on the border
between Myanmar and India.
Dr Kevin Read, joint leader of the
project, said new drugs were "urgently
He said: "Resistance to the current
gold-standard anti-malarial drug is
now considered a real threat.
"The compound we have discovered
works in a different way to all other
anti-malarial medicines on the market
or in clinical development, which
means that it has great potential to
work against current drug-resistant
"It targets part of the machinery
that makes proteins within the parasite
that causes malaria."
Dr David Reddy, CEO of MMV,
added: "Malaria continues to threaten
almost half of the world s population---
the half that can least afford it.
"DDD107498 is an exciting com-
pound since it holds the promise to
not only treat but also protect these
The university has been working
with MMV since 2009 to identify new
treatments for the disease. The project
was initiated by testing a collection of
about 4,700 compounds at the Drug
Discovery Unit (DDU), to see if any
would kill the malaria parasite.
This provided the chemical start-
ing-point for the new compound,
which was optimised through cycles
of design, preparation and testing.
The compound is now undergoing
safety testing through MMV, with a
view to entering human clinical trials
within the next year.
Prof Ian Gilbert, head of chemistry
at the DDU, who led the team which
discovered the compound, said he was
"very excited" by the progress made.
they would develop these conditions---
it just altered the odds.
Dr John Perry, from the MRC Epi-
demiology Unit, added: "We are con-
tinuing to work to understand how
puberty timing impacts later health
and how this information may be used
alongside efforts to support healthy
lifestyle changes and prevent disease.
"It is important to note that the
increase in disease risk attributable to
puberty timing is still relatively modest
and represents one of many factors
that contribute to the overall risk of
developing disease." (BBC)
Puberty age affects many diseases, says study
The age at which puberty starts can be a factor in developing a
range of diseases.
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