Author: Justine Varieur

Researchers Unlock Genetic Cause for Precocious Puberty

Oftentimes children are cautioned against growing up too quickly; however, researchers may have uncovered a genetic cause for the small subset of boys and girls who physically undergo puberty at uncharacteristically young ages.

Precocious puberty, which is defined by the development of secondary sexual characteristics before 8 years in girls and 9 years in boys, has been associated with an increase in conduct and behavioral disorders during adolescence. The disorder affects more girls than boys, and is becoming more common, although the reasons for this are unclear.

Recently, the media has questioned whether puberty is starting earlier, even in those children without this condition. And a 2011 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) followed American girls of various ethnicities, locations and backgrounds, and demonstrated that by 7 years old, more than 10 percent of Caucasian girls and 23 percent of African-American girls showed signs of breast development, indicating that puberty has begun.

Read Full Story