Tags: men | cause | menopause | study

Men Cause Menopause, Says Study; 'We Told You So,' Say Women

Friday, 14 Jun 2013 09:23 AM

By Clyde Hughes

A Canadian researcher can now lay science to what some women have complained about for years – men really do cause menopause.

McMaster University professor Rama Singh and two colleagues used computer models, among other research, to demonstrate that men's long preference for younger female mates created the evolution of menopause, according to NBCNews.com.

NBCNews.com said in research released Friday by PLOS Computational Biology, Singh connects male mating preferences to the development of a long menopausal period.

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“I am saying what women have been saying all their lives,” Singh told NBCNews.com. “Men are to blame.”

Singh said that human have always used sex as a way of bonding, not just reproduction. Over time, male attraction of younger women led to menopause became built in to older women, NBCNews.com said.

Singh's research group ran simulations on fixed virtual populations exposed to various scenarios of mate preferences and genetic mutations, NBCNews.com said. Once ancient men began preferring younger women, scientists discovered "female-specific mutations with a late age of onset … accumulated in the population."

Singh's research suggested that because men stayed fertile into old age, mortality of both sexes kept being pushed back, said NBCNews.com.

Singh said he understands his conclusion will be controversial. You think?

"The theory is provocative, but not altogether convincing," said Ross Pomeroy, of Real Clear Science. "A big plus, according to the researchers, is that it doesn't rely on the notion of pre-existing diminished female fertility. But a huge crux is the inherent assumption that men always prefer younger women. Computer simulations are also far from concrete methods of substantiation."

Dr. Maxwell Burton-Chellew, evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, argued in The Telegraph that the study did not explain why if his theory is correct, why menopause similarly didn't happen in the animal kingdom.

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“The authors argue that the menopause exists in humans because males have a strong preference for younger females," Burton-Chellew told The Telegraph. "However, this is probably the wrong way round – the human male preference for younger females is likely to be because older females are less fertile.

"Even if this study is correct, it fails to explain why the menopause is so rare in the animal kingdom," he continued. "The menopause is unlikely to just be a by-product of evolutionary forces, but rather it is probably best understood as an adaptation that was advantageous to women."

Related stories:

Breast Cancer Gene Linked to Early Menopause

Hot Flashes Often Strike Before Menopause: Study

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