Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What does height have to do with the risk of Osteoarthritis?

A recent study, which involved thirty five thousand Europeans and Americans, suggested that a few genes associated with height are also associated with osteoarthritis. Study observations confirmed that shorter heights had an increased risk of osteoarthritis, although researchers believe that both short and tall extremes may have an increased risk of osteoarthritis.

However, even though both extremes seem to indicate an increased risk for osteoarthritis, the reason for the increased risk is not the same. Individuals who are taller have longer bones which may increase joint stress, while shorter individuals who have shorter bones and less cartilage may also have an increased risk of joint damage.

Although the findings of this study are not concrete evidence as to the exact correlation between height and arthritis, the study did lead to a better understanding of height overall.

The authors of the study were delighted that you could study the height of many people to determine the genes that affect height, and in turn isolate the few genes that are associated with osteoarthritis. Perhaps this study and the studies to come will one day isolate the gene or genes that cause osteoarthritis, so that the disease may be eliminated through genetic engineering.

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