Thighs
 Dear Professor,
Last year, you ran a story concerning an "interesting" connection between short thighs and diabetes. I have since contacted Dr. Asao  (and received a gracious reply), the lead researcher at John's Hopkin's, to show her the connection that she was searching for.
 
Here is the link: Celiac Disease. 
 
How is this the link?
1) Celiac disease is characterized by damage to the intestinal villi of the duodenum, which results in the chronic malabsorption of calcium and vitamin C, among other very important nutrients (such as iron, iodine, magnesium, boron, zinc, B complex, and more). This results in numerous skeletal abnormalities, such as flat feet, joint laxity of hips and shoulders, and SHORT THIGHS. We celiacs are notoriously short legged and my leg length is what keep me from being over 6 feet tall. I have to use shortened golf clubs as a result.
 
2) Celiacs have a 50 TIMES higher rate of diabetes than the general population...50 TIMES!
 
3) Once thought uncommon (e.g. older medical texts call it rare, affecting less than 1:5000 people), it is now known that celiac disease afflicts over 1:130
people in this country (the official number by the newly enlightened medical profession). However, those who research celiac disease for a living (like I do now) suspect that number to be much higher, with 1:33 being more realistic.
 
So, there is your connection. There is no doubt of this. It also explains the other things tied to short thighs...heart disease, immune-mediated diseases, and much, much more (including some obvious cancers).
 
Hope this helps,
John
 
Dogtor J.
dogtorj@bellsouth.net
http://dogtorj.tripod.com  ( Read:  The Answer-  to "Why is the Plane of Our Nation's Health in a Death Spiral?" )
www.dogtorj.com 

 

Reply

Thanks. Of course, I defer to your personal expertise and knowledge. You suggest a mechanism, which is what largely distinguishes science from epidemiology.

I do not, however, withdraw my implied criticism of the original study as reported in the media, which is summed up by the chart I produced last March

If your hypothesis is correct, an extremal statistic, such as the lowest decile, should have offered a dramatic confirmation. Taking the mean dilutes the effect until it is, to all intents and purposes, invisible. This is because the mean will be dominated by the genetic variants.

I am one of those slightly affected by "Ducks Disease", a term coined by the Welsh comedian Harry Secombe. He would demonstrate it by sitting between two men who appeared to be of the same height. Then they stood up and he was a foot shorter. I am the same height as a six footer sitting down, but four inches shorter standing up. In my case it is purely hereditary, as both parents were shorties.

There is a world of difference between testing a hypothesis by statistical inference and trawling for random correlations. Take the case of fingers. This from  Number Watch last August:

To compound the offence The Times used the occasion to fill up a few gaping column inches with a revisit to the finger farce. It is an interesting feature of media coverage of junk science that, with time, the mays, mights and coulds fade away and the results of tacky small surveys become the received wisdom. The differential length of fingers, like the masculinity of faces, is all down to the exposure to testosterone in the womb. How do they know, have they measured it? It now relates among other things to homosexuality, sperm quality, breast cancer, heart disease, autism, dyslexia and left handedness. They left some out (see Fingers back in and also Digital distortion, Fingers out, Return of  Finger Man, Return of the finger prince etc.) The permutations of random and accidental correlations are endless.

These random trawls for correlations of body measurements with various conditions, either as part of a large data dredge or as a study so small as to be meaningless, do nothing for science, medicine or the welfare of the human race.

 

JEB

January 2004

Correspondence

 

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