Expecting Change

Eureka moments are rarely this sweet and simple. Thomas Kelsey, a computer scientist and cancer researcher at Scotland's University of St. Andrews, was browsing through a medical journal in April 2003, when he spotted a graph that looked oddly familiar. That bit of pattern recognition may help give women a window on their reproductive future — the ability to know in advance when they will reach menopause.

The graph plotted the ovary size of healthy women in the U.S. against their age. But to Kelsey's eye, it had an identical trajectory to a mathematical model used to estimate...

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