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How Fast You Grow Up Could Affect Tumor Growth

moodboard/Thinkstock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- It's not something anyone thinks about during their teen years but the longer it takes one to reach their full height, the greater the risk of developing certain brain tumors during adulthood.

Add that to the list of adolescent worries.

Study researcher Rebecca Little from the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at about 2,600 people, mostly in their 50s, who either had no brain tumor, developed brain and spinal tumors called glioma or another tumor, meningioma, which forms in the brain's lining.

Generally, males reach their full height at 17 while females stop growing at 16. What Little learned was that the risk of developing glioma increased by 14 percent for boys and 11 percent for girls for each year they took to reach full height.

Those who take until year 19 to stop growing are twice as likely to form the glioma tumors than their counterparts who finished their growth spurts at 15.

Little theorized that the increased risk of glioma might have to do with the body being exposed longer to growth hormones. However, since the study only involved people in the southeast, researchers will have to repeat the study in other areas to verify the results.

Gliomas make up 30 percent of all brain and central nervous system tumors and 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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