By: April Carson
A sensor in the brain may explain why humans are growing taller and puberty is occurring at younger ages, according to scientists.
The average height of the UK has risen by 3.9 inches (10cm) during the 20th century, and by up to 7.8 inches in other nations as a result of improved nutritional health.
The mechanism by which this occurs, however, has never been explained.
Researchers in the United Kingdom say they may have discovered a method to stimulate muscle growth and treat delayed growth. Humans who eat a healthy diet and have constant access to food generally grow taller and mature quicker, according to scientists.
Adult height in South Korea has exploded as the country developed from a poor nation to a developed society. People in parts of South Asia and Africa, on the other hand, are barely taller than they were 100 years ago. It's been shown that nutrients from food are conveyed to the hypothalamus brain region, which assesses the body's nutritional health and stimulates growth.
A new study, published in Nature and led by researchers from the University of Cambridge alongside groups from Queen Mary University of London, University of Bristol, Vanderbilt University and the University of Michigan, has identified the brain receptor underlying this process.
MC3R is the link between food and sexual maturation and development.
Researchers found that the tiny, similar neurons grew at significantly different rates, further suggesting that these cells are not related. "It tells the body we're wonderful here; we've got a lot of food; therefore fasten your seatbelts and have puberty quickly," said Prof Sir Stephen O'Rahilly, one of the study's authors from Cambridge's MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit.
'What we think is going on is "growth control" from the brain. The brain does not say you've reached enough, it says "keep going". That's all,' Prof O'Rahilly explained, in an interview with BBC News.
"It's not just magic; we have the entire wiring diagram for how it works in detail."
When the brain receptor in humans doesn't operate properly, researchers discovered that people were shorter in height and had puberty later than other persons. The researchers looked at the DNA of half a million people who had enrolled in the UK Biobank - a massive genetic and health data pool - to verify this.
The children who had gene variations that disrupted the brain receptor were all shorter and weighed less than other kids, suggesting that the effect starts early in life. Researchers discovered one individual who had mutations in both copies of the MC3R gene, which is extremely uncommon and harmful.
This person was extremely short as a youngster and began puberty after the age of 20.
Humans aren't the only ones who benefit from this; researchers looked at mice to see if the same pathway is active in them. This new information may assist children with significant delays in growth and puberty, as well as those who suffer from chronic illnesses that weaken them.
Researchers should look into whether drugs that specifically stimulate the MC3R might aid in the transformation of fat cells into muscle and other lean tissues, with a view to improving physical functioning.
Scientists have long known about a brain receptor called MC4R that controls hunger. Those who lack it are usually overweight.
There is a limit to how tall people may grow, which is determined by their genetic potential. Factors like health and diet have a huge influence on whether or not that happens.
Children from low-income homes can reach their genetic height if they get enough nutrients and calories. Taller individuals live longer and are less prone to heart disease, and they may also wind up earning more. Humans, on the other hand, are limited by their biological processes.
Average height in the United Kingdom shot up during the 20th century, but there are indications that it is leveling off in recent years.
In the height department, Japanese males have remained near their all-time low. Elsewhere, South Korean women and Iranian men have seen the greatest increases in stature over the last century.
The tallest men in the world are Dutchmen (71.8 inches), whereas the shortest are Guatemalan women (55.1 inches).
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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