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Environmental effects on ovarian reserve among migrant Bangladeshi women in the UK

Begum, K.; (2011) Environmental effects on ovarian reserve among migrant Bangladeshi women in the UK. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Reproductive ecologists have proposed that environmental conditions experienced during development influence adult reproductive hormones. An earlier study on Bangladeshi women aged 18-35 showed that women who migrated to the UK during childhood (<16 years) have significantly higher salivary progesterone levels compared to women who grew up in Bangladesh. But no such study has been reported in the context of later reproductive hormone levels and ovarian reserve. In the research here, hormone profiles that predict ovarian reserve (inhibin B, AMH and FSH) were compared between: 1) migrant Bangladeshis who moved to the UK as adults, or 2) migrant Bangladeshis who moved as children, 3) sedentee Bangladeshis living in Bangladesh, and 4) white European women. Data on socio-economic, demographic and reproductive histories were also collected. The following hypotheses were examined: 1) There is inter-population variation in ovarian reserve depending on environmental conditions during development; 2) Moving to a better environment during adult life does not affect age-specific ovarian reserve; and 3) The childhood environment has an impact on age-related ovarian reserve in later life. The findings support these hypotheses. Results suggest that changes in the developmental environment during childhood, when the tempo of growth and maturation are determined, influence reproductive hormone levels and ovarian reserve. Conversely, environmental change during adult life, when maturation is completed, does not alter later life reproductive hormone levels or ovarian reserve. The childhood environment therefore appears to have a significant effect on ovarian reserve reinforcing earlier findings that developmental plasticity extends beyond the uterine period in humans. Consequently, the higher age-specific ovarian reserve of child migrants who grew up in the UK results in an extended reproductive life span compared to women who grew up in Bangladesh. This may eventually put child migrants at an increased risk of developing age-related diseases such as breast cancer.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Environmental effects on ovarian reserve among migrant Bangladeshi women in the UK
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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