A new study has struck a nice balance between both hypotheses, indicating that the path for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) could be set before a girl is even born. A team led by researchers from the University of Lille in France has arrived at some tantalising results suggesting PCOS is developed when a hormone produced by the ovaries interacts with a set of neurons in the mother's brain. The interaction can initiate a cascade effect, disrupting enzymes in the placenta and ultimately causing PCOS symptoms in the offspring. Given that PCOS tends to run in families, this explanation would make a lot of sense.
But results from this new study have the potential to eventually change the way we view the condition, which affects one in 10 women worldwide. This latest research focussed on the antimüllerian hormone (AMH), which is produced by follicles located on the outside of the ovary. Previous research has shown that AMH could interact with neurons in the brain, which then cause the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH) - the same hormone that surges at certain times of the month to trigger ovulation.
Women with PCOS, however, have constant high levels of LH, which inhibits ovulation and boosts the release of testosterone – two telltale signs of the condition. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a set of symptoms related to hormonal imbalances that still has no universal definition. Women with the condition can experience weight gain, large ovarian cysts, difficulty ovulating, acne, facial hair, depression, and agonising and heavy periods.
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