Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common digestive disorders in the developed world. Up to 1 in 5 people suffer from the characteristic heart burn and/or acid regurgitation every week.
Regular sufferers are at increased risk of cancer of the esophagus. New cases of esophageal cancer have been rising faster than any other cancer over the last 3 decades.
In this study, findings were based on 2000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins.
The subjects completed a questionnaire on the type and frequency of their gastrointestinal symptoms, and on potential risk factors for acid reflux. These included smoking, excess alcohol, overweight, and medication.
Overall, the GERD occurred in 18% of subjects.
|An identical twin was 1.5 times as likely to have GERD if their twin was affected.|
However, identical twin pairs were significantly more likely to both have GERD than non-identical pairs. An identical twin was found to be 1.5 times as likely as a non-identical twin to have GERD if their twin was affected.
Dr Mohammed's team concluded that 43% of the chance of developing acid reflux is attributable to genes.