Maybe Menopause Doesn't Have to Happen

Sumathi Reddy of the 'Wall Street Journal' explores the topic, noting women might live longer, healthier lives
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2023 6:35 AM CDT
Maybe Menopause Doesn't Have to Happen
   (Getty / lucigerma)

The headline on the story by Sumathi Reddy in the Wall Street Journal poses a provocative question: "What if we could get rid of menopause?" And the piece is anything but a mere thought exercise on the subject. It turns out that scientists—mostly female scientists—are already on the case. Reddy details various potential treatments, most of which "focus on slowing down the rate at which a woman's follicles and eggs are lost." One possibility is to repurpose already existing drugs, particularly the kidney-transplant drug rapamycin, which appears to slow the aging of ovaries in mice. Another is to engineer cells to achieve the same result, which biotech firms including Gameto are working on. But Reddy's story also focuses on the "why" of such a movement, and the answer is a profound one: Women may lead longer and healthier lives.

"Menopause is the single biggest accelerant of the diseases of aging for women across the board, whether it's heart disease and stroke, autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis or cognitive decline," says Piraye Yurttas Beim of anothe biotech firm, Celmatix. As Reddy explains, when a woman's ovaries stop working and releasing vital hormones, the aging process accelerates, along with a multitude of health risks. Another factor: If women were able to take drugs to better regulate the entire process throughout their lives, it would upend age-old thinking about the "biological clock." Reddy includes the views of skeptics who worry about tinkering with the natural process. But Dr. Zev Williams of Columbia University suggests it's time to end the "ingrained" belief that menopause as we know it must take place. (Read the full story.)

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