Writing in the journal Nature Genetics, an international team of researchers have found 18 new genetic variations that increase the levels of uric acid in the blood - the main cause of gout. The disease is caused by tiny crystals of uric acid forming in the joints, causing pain and swelling, and the number of cases of gout is on the rise thanks to increasing age and obesity, affecting around one in 70 UK adults.

The scientists studied DNA from more than 140,000 people, combining more than 70 studies from around the world, looking for genetic variations that were linked to higher uric acid levels. The team hopes that their findings could translate into better understanding of the risks and causes of gout, helping to spot people at risk and prevent the disease as well as leading to more effective treatments with fewer side effects.


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