Excessive screentime linked to early puberty in girls

A new study conducted in Istambutol reveals that spending too much time on tablets and phones may alter hormone levels and increase the risk of early puberty in girls.

According to the study, female rats' earlier start of puberty was linked to prolonged exposure to blue light. It  further revealed decreased melatonin levels, elevated levels of several reproductive hormones, and structural alterations to their ovaries.

"We have discovered that blue light exposure, which is necessary to change melatonin levels, can also change the levels of reproductive hormones and hasten the onset of puberty. In addition, the longer the exposure, the earlier the onset," said researcher Aylin Kilinc Ugurlu from Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey.

The scientists employed a rat model in their study, which was presented at the 60th Annual European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology Meeting, to look at the effects of blue light exposure on levels of reproductive hormones and the time at which puberty begins. 

Three groups of six female rats each received either a normal light cycle, six hours of blue light, or twelve hours of blue light. Both groups were exposed to blue light, and both groups' first signs of puberty started noticeably earlier. The longer the duration of exposure, the earlier the beginning of puberty.

In addition, rats exposed to blue light saw morphological changes in their ovarian tissue, decreased melatonin levels, and higher levels of two particular reproductive hormones (oestradiol and luteinizing hormone). These alterations are all consistent with the start of puberty. Rats also displayed some symptoms of cell deterioration and inflammation in their ovaries after 12 hours of treatment.

Although the usage of mobile devices that emit blue light has previously been linked to children's sleep patterns being disturbed, these findings suggested that there may be additional hazards for foetal development and future fertility.

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