May 31, 2023

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Height increases risk of certain diseases

In a new study printed in the Journal PLoS Genetics, researchers investigated how top identified various prevalent medical attributes in older people by evaluating associations of these attributes with true- and genetically-predicted-height. They employed the Mendelian randomization-phenome-huge affiliation research (MR-PheWAS) to look at about 1,000 clinical properties applying medical and genetic data from the biggest healthcare system biobank in the United States (US).

Study: A multi-population phenome-wide association study of genetically-predicted height in the Million Veteran Program. Image Credit: Stanislav Fridkin / ShutterstockAnalyze: A multi-inhabitants phenome-huge association study of genetically-predicted top in the Million Veteran Software. Impression Credit history: Stanislav Fridkin / Shutterstock


Epidemiologic associations of peak with ailments are susceptible to confounding as environmental aspects, which includes nutrition, socio-financial and demographic factors, influence grownup peak. Earlier MR reports have tested this kind of hypotheses dependent on beforehand described epidemiologic associations. Therefore, all those scientific tests could not elucidate no matter if top-connected medical features have a relaxed affiliation with health conditions or are secondary to confounding.

MR technique makes use of genetic equipment to handle unmeasured confounding and estimate the causal effects of top on quite a few medical qualities, such as coronary coronary heart disease (CHD), atrial fibrillation, lipid levels, and some cancers. Recently, MR scientific studies have also been put together with PheWAS to determine novel associations.

About the analyze

In the existing analyze, scientists executed an MR-PheWAS of peak on the US section of veterans affairs (VA) Million Veteran Application (MVP). They utilized the Harmonized Ancestry and Race/Ethnicity (HARE) algorithm, which makes use of genetic facts to forecast race/ethnicity, to classify the examine individuals into three unique teams, non-Hispanic Whites (EA), non-Hispanic Blacks (AA), and Hispanic-American (HA). They analyzed the genetic info connected to 222,300 EA and 58,151 AA clinical data.

The group confirmed earlier regarded MR associations among top and cardiovascular hazard-rising characteristics, these as atrial fibrillation, and risk-decreasing qualities, such as CHD, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. On top of that, they examined not long ago described MR associations with varicose veins. Further more, they investigated MR associations with peripheral neuropathy and infections of the pores and skin and bones.

The researchers made use of 3,290 impartial, genome-broad important variants and their beta coefficients from a earlier released genome-extensive affiliation examine (GWAS) in people of European ancestry with no overlap with MVP to build a genetic hazard rating (GRS) for peak. In addition, they done a PheWAS of height in the MVP sample to create the height GRS across non-European ancestries.

The group also performed secondary analyses, including an extra model with entire body mass index (BMI) as an added covariate. They identified how BMI confounded the genetically predicted peak associations with phecodes. Moreover, they recurring the PheWAS stratified by diabetic issues and CHD standing of the analyze members.

Comparison of number of associations and effect sizes of measured height (A) and genetically-predicted height (B) between non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black individuals. Associations of measured and genetically-predicted height with phecodes represented as odds ratios (OR) in non-Hispanic Black (AA) and non-Hispanic White (EA) MVP participants. Whether associations exceeded phenome-wide significance threshold in either or both race/ethnicity groups indicated by color. Venn diagrams providing pictorial representation of the same comparisons shown to the right of each plot.

Comparison of quantity of associations and impact dimensions of calculated height (A) and genetically-predicted height (B) among non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black people. Associations of calculated and genetically-predicted top with phecodes represented as odds ratios (OR) in non-Hispanic Black (AA) and non-Hispanic White (EA) MVP contributors. No matter whether associations exceeded phenome-extensive importance threshold in possibly or both of those race/ethnicity teams indicated by color. Venn diagrams giving pictorial representation of the same comparisons proven to the ideal of every plot.

Study results

The examine investigation disclosed that only 345 scientific traits were involved with calculated top in EA and an supplemental 17 in AA. Two of these attributes ended up connected to genetically predicted height in AA and 127 in EA. All the MR associations have been unaffected by BMI. The CHD standing of a participant modified the result of MR associations for atrial fibrillation. Nonetheless, it did not influence outcomes for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or venous circulatory problems.

The PheWAS study also supplied further insights further than the scope of epidemiologic and physiologic reports. For occasion, the current examine described associations of genetically predicted height with circumstances that may well consequence from the effects of elevated pounds-bearing. Further more, it prolonged an understanding of the clinical impact of peak outside of cardiovascular ailments.

Accordingly, the authors recognized protective associations involving peak and hypertension, hyperlipidemia, CHD, and atrial fibrillation. Further, they discovered that the tall stature improved the chance for quite a few non-cardiovascular circumstances, particularly peripheral neuropathy, and venous circulatory issues, indicating the effect of top on nerve conduction is clinically considerable.

On top of that, the authors identified a much better association of genetically predicted height with skin and bone infections between diabetics indicating that the two variables perform collectively to effects an infection chance. Lastly, they located evidence supporting perhaps causal associations of height with varicose veins and venous thromboembolic activities.


The study examined phenome-huge associations of measured height and genetically predicted height with above 1000 medical characteristics in US adults. The authors observed that top may be a biologically probable hazard variable for a number of frequent circumstances in grownups, significantly those influencing distal extremities most impacted by tall stature.

Similarly, they found that asthma and non-certain peripheral nerve diseases were being associated with genetically predicted height solely in girls. The gender-based mostly associations in peak-connected condition pathophysiologies warrant even more investigation applying a sample with a lot more proportionate adult men and women populations. Also, far more reports are desired to exclude horizontal pleiotropy as a driving drive behind some of the MR associations noticed in the latest review. An crucial limitation of the review was that the US veterans ended up older males with a better prevalence of diabetic issues and cardiovascular sickness. Consequently, they did not signify a typical adult population.

Journal reference:

  • Sridharan Raghavan, Jie Huang, Catherine Tcheandjieu, Jennifer E. Huffman, Elizabeth Litkowski, Chang Liu, Yuk-Lam A. Ho, Haley Hunter-Zinck, Hongyu Zhao, Eirini Marouli, Kari E. North, Ethan Lange, Leslie A. Lange, Benjamin F. Voight, J. Michael Gaziano, Saiju Pyarajan, Elizabeth R. Hauser, Philip S. Tsao, Peter W. F. Wilson, Kyong-Mi Chang, Kelly Cho, Christopher J. O’Donnell, Yan V. Sunlight, Themistocles L. Assimes, A multi-populace phenome-vast association review of genetically-predicted height in the Million Veteran Program, Plos Genetics 2022, DOI:,