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Scientists find genetic link to Graves' disease

LOCAL scientists identified two genes that could cause Graves' disease -- an autoimmune disease causing an over active thyroid. Graves' disease impacts over 1 percent of Chinese, resulting a range of dramatic neuropsychological and physical symptoms, experts said today. A team of scientists from Ruijin Hospital and the National Human Genome Southern Research Center pinpointed the two genes after studying a sample of over 10,000 people with Graves' disease and 12,000 people without the disease from ten cities. They found a strong correlation between the two genes and the onset of Graves' disease, suggesting that the genes could trigger the disease. "With the discovery on the two genes' functions, we can forecast the disease before people really develop serious syndromes and give timely treatment," said Dr Ning Guang from Ruijin Hospital. "More targeted diagnostic measures and medicines will be developed based on the study in the future." Doctors said the study is very meaningful because Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in children and adolescents and it is also the most common cause of severe hyperthyroidism. The achievement was published in the latest version of Nature Genetics, a leading scientific journal.

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