According to an article published in Medical News Today, on 3 January 2013, scientists have managed to uncover 18 new gene variations that can raise uric acid levels in the blood, which may help to explain why some of us have a higher risk of gout than others.
These findings are extremely important for 2 reasons…
(1) Raised uric acid levels — a condition called hyperuricemia — has been linked to urate crystal formation in the joints and surrounding tissue, leading to painful episodes of gout.
(2) If we can understand more about how these genetic variations can lead to high uric acid levels, then real improvements in gout treatment and prevention can be made.
The study, the largest ever on this topic and published in Natural Genetics, analysed the genetic data of over 140,000 people all over the world, including the USA, Japan, Australia and Europe.
It has been known for some time that people are at a higher risk of gout if it has been in the family before them. But the actual cause or mechanism has not been identified until now, perhaps…
It is best summed up by one of the report’s lead authors, Professor Mark Caulfield of Queen Mary, University of London:
Existing therapies to avoid attacks of gout sometimes cause side effects. Our findings identify new potential mechanisms for gout and offer opportunities for new therapies which may improve prevention of this debilitating condition in the future.
So watch this space!