Height affects risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer

London, Feb 3 (IANS) Due to dietary factors, humans are taller now — but taller people are more prone to the risk of cancer, warns a recent study.

The taller people, though have lower risk for heart disease and Type-2 diabetes, said the study carried out by researchers in Germany.

How tall you are is largely genetically determined but in recent decades the height of children and adults is steadily increasing. And your height has an important impact on mortality from certain common diseases, irrespective of body fat mass and other modulating factors, according to the researchers.

“Epidemiological data show that per 6.5 cm in height the risk of cardiovascular mortality decreases by six percent, but cancer mortality, by contrast, increases by four percent,” said Matthias Schulze of the German Institute of Human Nutrition at Potsdam in Germany.

“Accordingly, our new data show that tall people are more sensitive to insulin and have lower fat content in the liver, which may explain their lower risk for cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes,” said Norbert Stefan from the University of Tubingen in Germany.

These findings fit in with published data that suggest that tall people have relative protection against disorders of the lipid metabolism.

The result of the study showed inverse association with the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type-2 diabetes — but a positive association with the risk of cancer.

Physicians should be made more aware of the fact that tall people — although less often affected by cardiovascular disease or Type-2 diabetes — have an increased risk of cancer.

Hitherto, the importance of diet has been underestimated, especially during pregnancy and in children and adolescents, the scientists suggested.

Maths comes to rescue of global human health

Maths is a scary subject for many — but for scientist at Universities of York in the US and Turin in Italy, advanced calculations can help improve human health globally.

The team used mathematics as a tool to provide precise details of the structure of protein nanoparticles that show great promise as future vaccine carriers and useful in vaccine design.

Working with the researchers from University of Connecticut, they created a complete picture of the surface morphology of these particles.

The nanoparticles self-assemble symmetrically, using protein building blocks to create cage or shell-like architectures.

It serves a range of functions such as storage, catalysis and structural scaffolding or as enclosures for viral genomes.

Using mathematics to predict the geometries of nanoparticles can help scientists to select those whose structures are the most advantageous for the design of new vaccines.

“We have developed a mathematical approach that allows you to identify the surface structures of these nanoparticles that you cannot get from experimentation alone,” said biophysicist Reidun Twarock from University of York in a paper published in the Biophysical Journal.

Mathematics plays an important role here because it acts like a microscope and helps to give researchers insights they couldn’t get experimentally.

“Understanding the geometric principles of the self-assembly to nanoparticles is essential for the successful design and development as vaccines,” the authors noted.

The constant need for vaccine development as new strains of disease evolve has generated a world market worth $56 billion a year.

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