A new genetic study supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) suggests that individuals who are shorter have an increased risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
Using the UK Biobank data, researchers at the University of Oxford and the Estonian Genome Center carried out a genome-wide association study to identify the genomic regions, where DNA variants associated with CTS risk were likely to be present.
Total of 16 regions in the genome were identified which had several genes with a possible role in the development of CTS. These genes determine height, and findings showed that shorter height was associated with a greater risk of developing CTS. Researchers also found evidence of a possible role of genetic variants in risk for CTS by studying the genes in tissue around the tendons of carpal tunnel.
CTS is a common debilitating condition of the hand resulting from a compressed median nerve in the wrist. Nearly 1 in 20 individuals in the United Kingdom are likely to develop CTS at some point in their life. Despite being so common, there is limited understanding of why certain people are prone to it and how genes influence its development.
Prof Dominic Furniss, the lead investigator, said: "While there is evidence that certain occupational factors can increase an individual's risk of developing CTS, most people including many doctors are probably unaware that genetic risk factors are thought to be the most important determinants of who goes on to develop the disease."