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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Short legs 'liver disease risk'

18th December 2007

Researchers in the UK have said that women who have short legs could have a higher risk of liver disease.


The study examined 4,300 women aged between 60 and 79. The research team selected participants from the British Women's Health and Heart Study at random, who came from 43 towns around Britain.

The Bristol University team published details of the connection between leg length and liver disease in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

They took measurements of height and leg length. The team also measured the levels of four liver enzymes - ALT, GGT, ALP and AST - from blood samples. The enzymes show how the liver is functioning and display signs of damage.

They found the women with longer legs had lower levels of three of the liver enzymes, while women with shorter legs had higher levels of all four enzymes.

The team's head, Dr Abigail Fraser, said that the research could be link to "upbringing".

"Our interpretation of the results is that childhood exposures, such as good nutrition that influence growth patterns also influence liver development and therefore levels of liver enzymes in adulthood and/or the propensity for liver damage," the team stated.

The team also said that taller women could have larger livers, which might decrease enzyme levels "so ensuring that the liver is able to withstand chemical onslaught more effectively."

A spokesperson from the British Liver Trust said the study was intriguing and called for further research.

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