Breaking News
December 16, 2018 - New project aims to understand why and how metabolic disorders develop in patients
December 16, 2018 - Diets containing GM maize have no harmful effects on health or metabolism of rats
December 16, 2018 - Are doctors and teachers confusing immaturity and attention deficit?
December 16, 2018 - Hearing loss linked with increased risk for premature death
December 16, 2018 - Chromatrap buffer reagents for lysing cells offer many benefits
December 16, 2018 - Young Breast Cancer Patients Face Higher Risk for Osteoporosis
December 16, 2018 - 3-D printing offers helping hand to people with arthritis
December 16, 2018 - Community Health Choice helps manage complex and chronic care conditions
December 16, 2018 - Regular trips out could dramatically reduce depression in older age
December 16, 2018 - CWRU to use VivaLNK’s Vital Scout device for stress study in student athletes
December 16, 2018 - ‘Easy Way Out’? Stigma May Keep Many From Weight Loss Surgery
December 16, 2018 - Gout drug may protect against chronic kidney disease
December 16, 2018 - Talking about memories enhances the wellbeing of older and younger people
December 16, 2018 - Occupational exposure to pesticides increases risk for cardiovascular disease among Latinos
December 16, 2018 - A biomarker in the brain’s circulation system may be Alzheimer’s earliest warning
December 16, 2018 - Magnesium may play important role in optimizing vitamin D levels, study shows
December 16, 2018 - The effect of probiotics on intestinal flora of premature babies
December 16, 2018 - Parents spend more time talking with kids about mechanics of using mobile devices
December 16, 2018 - Biohaven Announces Positive Results from Ongoing Rimegepant Long-Term Safety Study
December 16, 2018 - Arterial stiffness may predict dementia risk
December 16, 2018 - Study explores link between work stress and increased cancer risk
December 16, 2018 - Sex work criminalization linked to incidences of violence finds study
December 16, 2018 - Johns Hopkins researchers discover swarming behavior in fish-dwelling parasite
December 16, 2018 - Schistosomiasis prevention and treatment could help control HIV
December 16, 2018 - Early postpartum opioids linked with persistent usage
December 16, 2018 - Johns Hopkins researchers identify molecular causes of necrotizing enterocolitis in preemies
December 16, 2018 - Advanced illumination expands capabilities of light-sheet microscopy
December 16, 2018 - Alzheimer’s could possibly be spread via contaminated neurosurgery
December 16, 2018 - Unraveling the complexity of cancer biology can prompt new avenues for drug development
December 16, 2018 - Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Prostate Cancer Linked
December 16, 2018 - Cannabis youth prevention strategy should target mental wellbeing
December 15, 2018 - Recent developments and challenges in hMAT inhibitors
December 15, 2018 - Sewage bacteria found lurking in Hudson River sediments
December 15, 2018 - CDC selects UMass Amherst biostatistician model that helps predict influenza outbreaks
December 15, 2018 - Researchers reveal brain mechanism that drives itch-evoked scratching behavior
December 15, 2018 - New computer model helps predict course of the disease in prostate cancer patients
December 15, 2018 - Obesity to Blame for Almost 1 in 25 Cancers Worldwide
December 15, 2018 - How the brain tells you to scratch that itch
December 15, 2018 - New findings could help develop new immunotherapies against cancer
December 15, 2018 - World’s largest AI-powered medical research network launched by OWKIN
December 15, 2018 - Young people suffering chronic pain battle isolation and stigma as they struggle to forge their identities
December 15, 2018 - Lifespan extension at low temperatures depends on individual’s genes, study shows
December 15, 2018 - New ingestible capsule can be controlled using Bluetooth wireless technology
December 15, 2018 - Researchers uncover microRNAs involved in the control of social behavior
December 15, 2018 - Research offers hope for patients with serious bone marrow cancer
December 15, 2018 - Link between poverty and obesity is only about 30 years old, study shows
December 15, 2018 - Mass spectrometry throws light on old case of intentional heavy metal poisoning
December 15, 2018 - BeyondSpring Announces Phase 3 Study 105 of its Lead Asset Plinabulin for Chemotherapy-Induced Neutropenia Meets Primary Endpoint at Interim Analysis
December 15, 2018 - Study finds that in treating obesity, one size does not fit all
December 15, 2018 - Tenacity and flexibility help maintain psychological well-being, mobility in older people
December 15, 2018 - Study reveals role of brain mechanism in memory recall
December 15, 2018 - High levels of oxygen encourage the brain to remain in deep, restorative sleep
December 15, 2018 - Experimental HIV vaccine strategy works in non-human primates, research shows
December 15, 2018 - Genetically modified pigs could limit replication of classical swine fever virus, study shows
December 15, 2018 - FDA Approves Herzuma (trastuzumab-pkrb), a Biosimilar to Herceptin
December 15, 2018 - Cost and weight-loss potential matter most to bariatric surgery patients
December 15, 2018 - Cancer Research UK and AstraZeneca open new Functional Genomics Centre
December 15, 2018 - New research lays out potential path for treatment of Huntington’s disease
December 15, 2018 - Prestigious R&D 100 Award presented to Leica Microsystems
December 15, 2018 - Study shows septin proteins detect and kill gut pathogen, Shigella
December 15, 2018 - Study sheds new light on disease-spreading mosquitoes
December 15, 2018 - 2017 Saw Slowing in National Health Care Spending
December 15, 2018 - Monitoring movement reflects efficacy of mandibular splint
December 15, 2018 - Study supports BMI as useful tool for assessing obesity and health
December 15, 2018 - Self-guided, internet-based therapy platforms effectively reduce depression
December 15, 2018 - Organically farmed food has bigger climate impact than conventional food production
December 15, 2018 - Faster, cheaper test has potential to enhance prostate cancer evaluation
December 15, 2018 - Researchers study abnormal blood glucose levels of patients after hospital discharge
December 15, 2018 - Swedish scientists explore direct association of dementia and ischemic stroke deaths
December 15, 2018 - Study finds 117% increase in number of dementia sufferers in 26 years
December 15, 2018 - Eczema Can Drive People to Thoughts of Suicide: Study
December 15, 2018 - Link between neonatal vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia confirmed
December 15, 2018 - Nurse denied life insurance because she carries naloxone
December 15, 2018 - Ritalin drug affects organization of pathways that build brain networks used in attention, learning
December 15, 2018 - Research pinpoints two proteins involved in creation of stem cells
December 15, 2018 - Gut bacteria may modify effectiveness of anti-diabetes drugs
December 15, 2018 - A new type of ‘painless’ adhesive for biomedical applications
December 15, 2018 - Early physical therapy associated with reduction in opioid use
December 15, 2018 - Breast cancer protection from pregnancy begins many decades later, study finds
December 15, 2018 - How often pregnant women follow food avoidance strategy to prevent allergy in offspring?
New study finds height as possible risk factor for developing varicose veins

New study finds height as possible risk factor for developing varicose veins

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

The taller you are, the more likely you are to develop varicose veins, according to a study led by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers that examined the genes of more than 400,000 people in search of clues to what causes this common but little understood condition.

“Genes that predict a person’s height may be at the root of this link between height and varicose veins and may provide clues for treating the condition,” said Nicholas Leeper, MD, associate professor of surgery and of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford.

The study also identified 30 genes linked to varicose vein disorder and to a strong genetic correlation with deep vein thrombosis. It will be published Sept. 24 in Circulation. Leeper and Erik Ingelsson, MD, PhD, professor of cardiovascular medicine, are the senior authors. Eri Fukaya, MD, PhD, clinical assistant professor of vascular surgery, and medical student Alyssa Flores share lead authorship.

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that can be seen just under the surface of the skin, usually in the legs. More than 30 million people in the United States have varicose veins. Although the condition is often dismissed as nothing more than a cosmetic nuisance, it can cause moderate pain and has been linked to the more serious side effects of deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body.

‘Shockingly little is known’

“The condition is incredibly prevalent but shockingly little is known about the biology,” Flores said. “There are no medical therapies that can prevent it or reverse it once it’s there.” Treatment is mainly limited to surgical procedures, such as laser treatment or vein stripping. “We’re hoping that with this new information, we can create new therapies, as our study highlights several genes that may represent new translational targets,” she said.

Researchers used data from the UK Biobank — both a long-term study and genetic repository that includes genomic data on about a half-million people — to look for varicose vein risk factors using machine learning combined with epidemiological methods in 413,519 participants. Further, they screened for genetic markers using genomewide association studies in 337,536 of the participants, 9,577 of whom had varicose vein disease. The study confirmed that currently established risk factors — including being older, female, overweight or pregnant, or having a history of deep vein thrombosis — are all associated with varicose veins.

“We confirmed that having had deep vein thrombosis in the past puts you at increased risk in the future,” Leeper said. “Recent research suggests that the converse appears to be true as well. Having varicose veins puts you at risk of these blood clots.”

The study also confirmed that surgery on the legs, family history, lack of movement, smoking and hormone therapy are risk factors. But the correlation they found between height and the condition was unexpected, the researchers said.

“We were very surprised to find that height came up from our machine-learning analyses,” Flores said.

Turning the algorithm loose

Typically in a large, genetic study like this one, researchers use genomewide association studies to examine DNA variation that may be associated with an increased risk for a particular illness. Using this method, the researchers identified the 30 regions on the genome associated with varicose veins. But the researchers also used another method involving machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to cast a giant net to discover any previously unknown risk factors.

“These methods represent new ways of thinking about research,” Ingelsson said. “You go in without a hypothesis about a specific biological mechanism and scan for something new. You could say that you turn the machine loose on it. In this case, we included 2,716 predictors of varicose veins in this machine-learning algorithm. Then we let the algorithms find the strongest predictors of varicose veins.”

In addition to height, the machine-learning algorithm showed that bioimpedance, a measure of how well the body impedes electric current flow, is a strong predictive marker for varicose veins. This measurement could potentially be used as a diagnostic tool to predict for varicose veins, Leeper said.

When height emerged from the machine-learning analysis as a possible risk factor, the researchers conducted further tests to see if it was an actual cause for the disease using mendelian randomization analyses, a statistical technique to determine causal effects.

“Our results strongly suggest height is a cause, not just a correlated factor, but an underlying mechanism leading to varicose veins,” Ingelsson said.

He added, “By conducting the largest genetic study ever performed for varicose vein disease, we now have a much better understanding of the biology that is altered in people at risk for the disease.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles