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Associations of Leg Length, Trunk Length, and Total Adult Height With Ménière’s: Cross-Sectional Analysis in the UK Biobank

Tyrrell, Jessica S.1; Taylor, Mark S.1,2; Whinney, David3; Osborne, Nicholas J.1,4

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000132
Research Articles

Objectives: To investigate whether adverse intrauterine and/or childhood exposures, using established anthropometric measures (e.g., components of adult height, including total height, leg length, and trunk length) as a proxy for childhood exposures, are associated with self-reported Ménière’s disease.

Design: Cross-sectional data from the UK Biobank were used to compare 1,327 self-reported Ménière’s cases with 479,500 controls. The authors used logistic regression models to investigate the relation of Ménière’s disease with the components of adult height. Models were adjusted for a range of potential confounders including age, sex, body mass index, ethnicity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and socioeconomic status.

Results: In the UK Biobank, Ménière’s was inversely associated with overall stature (odds ratio [OR] per standard deviation increase in height, 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80–0.94) and leg length (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.82–0.94) in fully adjusted models. No association was noted in adjusted models with trunk length (OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.88–1.01).

Conclusions: The specific association between leg length, a potential marker of adverse childhood environments, and Ménière’s may suggest that early-life environmental exposures that influence skeletal growth may also influence the risk of developing Ménière’s in later life.

Adverse early life exposures are known to contribute to the development of a number of complex diseases in adulthood (e.g., diabetes, heart disease) and may also impact on self-reported Ménière’s disease. The components of height are well-established proxies for adverse childhood environments. We utilized height measures in the UK Biobank to investigate the influence of early life factors on self-reported Ménière’s disease for the first time. The findings indicated that height and leg length were inversely associated with self-report of Ménière’s disease. This finding suggests early life environmental exposures that influence skeletal growth may also influence risk of developing Ménière’s disease in later life.

1European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, The Knowledge Spa, Truro Campus, Cornwall, United Kingdom; 2Faculty of Public Health and Social Work, University of Trnava, Trnava, Slovakia; 3Department of ENT Surgery, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, United Kingdom; and 4Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Melbourne, Australia.

This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource. The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (part of the University of Exeter Medical School) is partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013 and European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (to J.T., M.T., and N.O.). The UK Meniere’s Society funded this work (to J.T.).

The authors declare no other conflict of interest.

Received March 4, 2014; accepted October 26, 2014.

Address for correspondence: Jessica S. Tyrrell, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, The Knowledge Spa, Truro Campus, Cornwall, TR1 3HD, United Kingdom. E-mail:

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