Monday, November 4, 2013

Pubertal Changes —Are They Coming Earlier and Earlier? A Longitudinal Study Tells All

Photo by Antogonon via Pixabay
We have published several landmark articles over the past several decades noting the earlier onset of pubertal changes in girls and boys (largely cross-sectional studies) suggesting earlier changes than initially published, but none followed a cohort longitudinally to validate this hypothesis.

Fortunately Biro et al. (doi: peds.10.1542/2012-3773) have followed such a cohort of more than 1,200 girls enrolled prospectively at ages 6-8 years in three different geographic areas. The authors uncover some interesting data suggesting differences in onset of thelarche when one looks at race, ethnicity, and BMI.

Helping to make sense of this earlier and earlier initiation of pubertal change is a commentary by Dr. Marcia Herman-Giddens (doi: peds.10.1542/2013-3058) that sheds more light on why these changes might be occurring. If you want the most mature look possible at the subject of earlier pubertal development, then read this study and commentary to see what is developing that might better explain those earlier pubertal changes you are seeing in your own practice patients.

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