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Showing posts from September, 2013

Hemochromatosis tall tales and the HFE gene

Could extra iron in your body help you grow taller? Yes, according to a study cited recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. And taller is better, right? By many accounts it is, bringing greater earning power in many countries (there are a few downsides, so to speak, such as trying to relax in one of today's airline seats).

The tallest people, by country, are the Dutch, followed by the Norwegians, Serbs, and Swedes (if you find this stuff interesting there is a great chart in Wikipedia). The Celts of old, namely the general population of northern Europe several thousand years ago, were notably tall. Julius Caesar wrote that Celts looked with contempt on the short Romans. This fact is noted by the two doctors who carried out recent research on iron overload and height in Switzerland: Increased Height in HFE Hemochromatosis (Pietro E. CippĂ , M.D., Ph.D. and Pierre-Alexandre Krayenbuehl, M.D.).

Their finding? Hereditary hemochromatosis can make you taller. Of course, if you kno…