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Improving PCOS diagnoses for teenage girls

Teenage girls in New York with polycystic ovary syndrome may have access to better diagnoses based on the results of a study that found high levels of testosterone and the hormone irisin in girls suffering with the disease. PCOS has no known cause or cure, but an earlier diagnosis could mean a decease in risks that accompany the disease such as fertility problems and Type 2 diabetes.

The study, which was published online and presented at the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology, examined 23 patients with PCOS alongside a control group. PCOS occurs in around 12 percent of women. While one of its symptoms may be missed menstruation, this is often mistaken for normal changes in puberty and so it often goes undiagnosed and untreated in teenagers. Furthermore, physicians may be reluctant to treat it unless they have a definite diagnosis.

One researcher said the discovery could lead to better treatment for PCOS as well including making lifestyle changes that improve symptoms. The researcher said that looking at how the secretion of irisin, which is linked to exercise, is regulated in the body might result in better management of the disease. Irisin itself was only recently discovered.

Missed or delayed diagnoses can be more or less serious depending on the nature of the condition. For example, a missed diagnosis for cancer could mean a person starts treatment at a later stage of the disease when their prognosis is poorer. The result could even be fatal. Such a diagnosis might happen because of a medical professional misinterpreting an X-ray or dismissing a patient's symptoms. The patient may want to meet with an attorney to see if it constituted actionable medical malpractice.

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