MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alice R Carter MSc
Doctor of Philosophy Student
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
Population Health Science, Bristol Medical School
University of Bristol
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Higher body mass index and alcohol intake have been shown to increase the risk of liver disease. Some studies have looked at their combined effect by comparing the risk of liver disease between individuals with both high BMI and high alcohol intake and individuals with low BMI and low alcohol intake. However, these studies have produced mixed results. Some possible reasons for that are errors in self-reported BMI and alcohol intake, other factors confounding the association of BMI & alcohol intake with liver disease risk and changes in lifestyle that individuals with ill health may have been advised to adopt.
One way to overcome these limitations is to use a technique called Mendelian randomisation. This method uses genetic differences between individuals that influence their characteristics (e.g. their body mass and how much alcohol they drink) to help understand whether these characteristics are causally related to diseases.
Our study used this method to explore the joint effects of BMI and alcohol consumption on liver disease and biomarkers of liver injury. Continue reading