The Genetics Of Twins and Height When Separated And Living Independently

There was a very interesting story that was reported today on the show Good Morning America. It involved two Chinese female twins, a Andrey Doering and a Gracie Rainsberry. Andrey is from Wausau, Wisconsin and Gracie has been living in Richland, Washington.

There doesn’t seem to be that many videos or pictures of them standing next to each other, but a very careful analysis of these two twins who had been separated at birth, and then raise independently of each other, seems to show that they are exactly the same height.

If identical twin siblings were born together and raise in the same family, eating the same food, wearing the same clothes, and sleeping in the same bed grew up to be exactly the same in height, that type of conclusion would be almost expected.

However, the fact that these two twins, raise hundreds of miles apart, seem to look exactly the same, (same face, same glasses, same teeth, etc.) and still end up exactly the same suggest that genetics plays an overwhelming factor when it comes towards determining height of the developing person.

I have told people who have messaged me on the website that to find figure out how tall they would end up, to look at both of their parent’s height, and then use the height calculator. An even better approximation of their eventual ultimate adult height is to see if they have siblings of the same sex. If it is a girl, I tell her to look at the the sibling that is the closest age to them, but older, and of the same sex. Once they know how tall that sibling is, just add 1 inch for every 2-3 years that they are younger.

It seems that the epidemiologists and the people who study population growth patterns are extremely accurate about something, which the people at the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control also validate.

When you are brought up in an environment that provides enough food and nutrition for your growth, there is really no way for a person’s growth to be stunted or increased, at least by a dramatic amount like 4-5 inches.

These two girls who were probably born in China, a developing nation which has a horrible track record for health care and environmental pollution, being identical twins have the exact same copy of DNA. They were both eventually brought to the USA to a middle-class environment to be raised, and it would be obvious that they were never put in a situation where they were starving, which would indeed stunt a person’s growth.

Assume that the families they were brought into were about the same, with roughly the same yearly annual income ($60K- $100K).

Lets do a comparison of the main characteristics of the two cities

Wausau, Wisconsin

  • Latitude-Longitude – 44D 57′ N & 89D 38′ W
  • Population – about 39,000
  • population density – 2000/ square mile
  • Median family income – $36831

Richland, Washington

  • Latitude-Longitude – 46D 16′ 47″ N & 19D 16′ 53″ W
  • Population – 48,000
  • Population Density – 1,345/ square miles
  • Median family income -53,090

Richland Washington is slightly bigger, the median average income of family is definitely higher, at least in the city.

Can we say that the two environments of the twins were about the same? The Latitude and Longitude would say that. So we don’t ever have to use Bergmann’s Rule to account for a sibling or twin being 1-2 inches taller because they lived further north than the other.

So we have identical twins, separated when they were very young, but both were raised in similar environments, and the result at least at the ages of 10 or so is that they have exactly the same height. Neither of them is even half an inch taller than the other.

Years ago I had found an article where this researcher on height and growth said that the genetics/genes of a person will determine the baby’s eventual height with having as much of an influence as 80%. After this very recent story of a twin story, which we can dissect to study, I would say that it might actually be more like that height is 90% determined by our genetics, and it is only in very extreme, situations where our height can be stunted or increased (ie. North Korea and Netherlands, respectively)

Can agromegaly make you taller without growth plates?

Some people have claimed to have grown taller in a non-epiphyseal plate driven method via HGH.  Now it’s important to note that acromegaly is not solely based on HGH and there are some cases in gigantism where HGH levels are lower than people who supplement via HGH so it’s possible there’s another factor driving the length.  This topic was discussed before here.  In that page there are additional acromegalic x-rays and additional discussion of non-growth plate driven height growth.

You don’t just grow interstitially, you also grow appositionally even on the longitudinal ends of the bones.  For most, this is insignificant but for someone with high HGH and thereby higher bone turnover this could be much more significance but the question then becomes if they are gaining height in the feet and hands due to the larger number of bones there then in legs and arms then why aren’t the growing in the torso.

It follows logically that if two people are growing by different methods interstitial growth(traditional growth plate growth) and appostional growth on the longitudinal ends(endochondral ossification of the articular cartilage or some other bone thickening method) then the two bone shapes will look differently on the x-ray.

Here’s a “normal” hand x-ray:

Here’s an acromegalic hand x-ray:

One thing that strikes immediately is the greater whiteness between the acromegalic x-rays and the normal x-rays but the two bone shapes seem largely the same.  However there does seem to be greater articular cartilage spacing which could explain the increased hand size.

I couldn’t find a spine xray of someone with acromegaly but here’s a chest x-ray:

Unfortunately you can’t really tell anything about the spine because the bones are so thick.

Here’s a normal chest x-ray:

So basically the x-rays tell you that acromegaly may or may not cause a form of non-growth plate based longitudinal bone growth.  There’s just not enough x-rays of people with acromegaly to draw conclusions.  Or x-rays of people who supplement with HGH like Richard Piana.

LSJL Update 1-3-2017

Here’s the last LSJL update.

Here’s the latest feet images

20170103_080959

One effect that clamping my right foot has had is that my right quad is a lot bigger than my left quad now.  I left weights as muscle should help with LSJL as muscle can contract to stimulate bone and generate hydrostatic pressure.  Differences in feet size change weight distribution.  So now I’m going to clamp my left foot and not my right foot to try to get it to catch up.  If I can bridge the gap between the two that’ll be strong proof of LSJL.

Here’s a picture from another angle that shows the size difference better:

20170103_081115

The right calcaneus is also bigger so if I get some left foot growth I’ll gain some small but significant amount of height.

I may have gained some arm length but it’s within measurement error.

I don’t think clamping the toes is what’s helping.  I think it’s the clamping of the feet itself.  I am doing hand clamping as well.  I am clamping individual fingers and pretty much the whole hand is growing and not the specific fingers.  I have x-rays showing that my left hand fingers were longer except for the metacarpal.  So if I can’t get my left foot to catch up that’ll be another option to prove LSJL.  If my right hand keeps growing significantly I can get x-rays.

We’ll see how things go with my left foot.  It seemed I was almost ready to go up a shoe size with my right foot but with the muscle imbalance I’ll have to go with my left and get them to equalize.

The Metal Fixator To Hold The Cut Bones In Place Is The Critical Element

Ever since I found out that the company EpiBone was working towards creating lab grown osteochondral tissue, it was obvious that they were working towards making bone tissue that will go through the natural process of chondrocyte formation, chondrocyte condensation, osteocyte differentiation, and eventual total ossification of the previously chondrogenic tissue. This process is called endochondral ossification.

The ultimate goal as claimed by the CEO is that they want to grow bone tissue that can be implanted into bone defects in a living human. Based on the claims made, the obvious corollary to this claim is that they will also be working on bone tissue that can expand and grow on their own.

The idea is like this specific situation.

A young child (8-10 years old) who still has developing and growing limbs develops cancer of the bones aka osteosarcoma. The surgeons realize that they have to remove that bone tissue that has the cancer. That bone part is taken out, which could be a rather large chunk, but the orthopedist realizes that the child has not finished growing. They need to now replace that piece of bone they took out with a new one, which can also grow in length and width along with the bone in the limbs of the kid.

Alsberg’s team as early as the early 2000 showed that it was possible to grow “growth plate like” tissue that grows  volumetrically. Using that research as a stepping stone, the research team at EpiBone would be able to use the same growth factors, scaffolds, and peptides to get a growing bone-cartilage tissue in the lab.

The surgical technique of then implanting that Pseudo-Epiphyseal Cartilage tissue into the area of bone that is missing is not hard. That part where you fuse the bone edge of the implant with the edge of the originally cancerous cut bone does not need to be that difficult, although it can be technically challenging right now.

It appears that the real, true critical part that is limiting the possibility of using just stem cells and tissue engineering techniques to lengthen bone is not in the research.

It comes down to the need to fix the cut bones into alignment with each other, and not move about.

This is the entire reason why the original creator of the limb lengthening method need to ever use the External Fixators. The Fixators were always there to hold the bones in place, so that they don’t become crooked, or bent.

If we now really sat down and thought about it like a Monday Morning Quarterback aka “hindsight is 20/20”, the 2 decades of research on lengthening of bones done by Gavriil Ilisarov in the Kurgan from the 1960s to 1980s to perfect the technique of bone lengthening was bound to be successful, as long at the rate of lengthening of bone was just slow enough to account for osteogenic healing and tissue/callus formation rates. Once you realized that the bones in our body is one of the tissues in our bones with have the highest rate of healing potential in terms of broken bones over time fusing together, on a very theoretical level, there was no doubt that bones that have an external fixator that can pulls bones slowly aka lengthening would eventually heal over, resulting after say 3-6 months of tensile pulling, would result in longer bones.

Ilizarov used the Circular External Fixator to hold the bones into place. The technique for bone lengthening eventually was learned by the Germans ie at Dr. Betz, who developed his own internal fixator technique. Dr. Dror Paley developed his own internal fixator way called PRECISE. You always need some type of really strong, non-biodegradable element to hold the cut bones into place, whether it is to be placed inside the bone or attached to the bone from the outside.

The most minimally invasive method for limb lengthening surgery was developed by Dr. Bai Helong in China as early as the early 2000s, which involved a very thin method rod that is screwed to the top cut bone and the bottom cut bone, which is elongated. The rod would run in parallel to the axis of the long bone. As the metal rod is elongated through a mechanical action, the bones that the metal rod is screwed into, would elongate with the rod.

The callus that is formed in the region where the bones meet is stretched out and then reformed. This is what really happens during distraction osteogenesis. This is, and has always been the way bone lengthening actually works. Tissue that is developed between the interface of two bones, in the form of some pre-chondrogenic tissue aka “callus”, is stretched, ossified slightly, and then stretched again, until the desired lengthening of the bones finally is reached.

Notice how you always need to screw metal rods into the bones. You need the metal rods to go through the bones to give the bones enough structural strength.

This is one of the biggest issues that critics of the current bone lengthening methods have. They don’t like the idea that not only do you break the bones, but you also have to drill into the already cut bones at least in 2 different locations of the long bone, just to hold the overall long bone into position.

If an alternative to the current bone lengthening methods is ever developed, the technique will still need to hold the bones into position, without the chance of the cut bones falling apart and the legs ending up bent, or never fully fused back.

In a previous talk I had with someone over Skype, I had believed that maybe it was possible to implant some really strong bio-degradable material as a replacement to the metal rods or metal fixators.

Another LSJL study shows bone length increase

I actually missed that this LSJL study showed height increase as it was a minor comment that joint loading increased height of the femoral head.  Since the femoral head is a diagonal offshoot of the femur it may not necessarily increase height but it is an increase in bone length all the same.  However, the osteonecrosis induced in the study may be a prerequisite to induce the femoral head growth.  However, it should be noted that the osteonecrosis decreased femoral head height but the degradation of existing bone may have allowed for new bone growth.

This is an LSJL related study published by Yokota and Zhang.  The primary author seems to be more Zhang who seems more into the lengthening effects than Yokota.  This study shows that joint loading increases fibrous differentiation.  And fibrous differentiation would be a potential intermediary step for neo-growth plate formation.  Knee loading increased vessel remodeling and osteoclast formation which would be needed to make room for a new growth plate but these levels were only slightly greater than control group and reduced from the osteonecrosis group so we can not say for sure whether this will happen in LSJL on a normal bone.

Overall this study shows that LSJL does at least one of the steps required for neo-growth plate formation: fibrous type tissue formation.  This fibrous tissue would then have to be further differentiated into more cartilagenous tissue.  The perichondrial ring(or ring of LaCroix) is fibrocartilagenous.

Knee loading protects against osteonecrosis of the femoral head

“Osteonecrosis of the femoral head is a serious orthopedic problem. Moderate loads with knee loading promote bone formation.  Using a rat model, we examined a hypothesis that knee loading enhances vessel remodeling and bone healing through the modulation of the fate of bone marrow-derived cells. In this study, osteonecrosis was induced by transecting the ligamentum teres followed by a tight ligature around the femoral neck. For knee loading, 5 N loads were laterally applied to the knee at 15 Hz{this is pretty high frequency} for 5 min/day for 5 weeks. Changes in bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) of the femur were measured to evaluate vessel remodeling. Femoral heads were harvested, and bone marrow-derived cells were isolated to examine osteoclast development and osteoblast differentiation.  Osteonecrosis significantly induced bone loss, and knee loading stimulated both vessel remodeling{vessel remodeling shows promise as that would be very helpful for neo growth plate creation} and bone healing. The osteonecrosis group exhibited the lowest trabecular BV/TV in the femoral head, and lowest femoral BMD and BMC. Knee loading increased trabecular BV/TV as well as BMD and BMC. Osteonecrosis decreased the vessel volume, vessel number and VEGF expression, and knee loading increased them. Osteonecrosis activated osteoclast development, and knee loading reduced its formation, migration, adhesion and the level of “pit” formation{pit formation could potentially be beneficial though as that pit could where a neo-growth plate would go}. knee loading significantly increased osteoblast differentiation and CFU-F{An increase in CFU-F means an increase in mesenchymal stem cell proliferation which is a good for neo-growth plate formation but doesn’t guarantee that it will occur}. A significantly positive correlation was observed between vessel remodeling and bone healing. Knee loading could be effective in repair osteonecrosis of the femoral head in a rat model [by] promoting vessel remodeling, suppressing osteoclast development, and increasing osteoblast and fibroblast differentiation. “

“The mechanism of knee loading is considered to change intramedullary pressure of femoral and tibial bone cavities. The load driven pressure may generate fluid flow in a lacuna canalicular network in bone cortex. The pressure activates bone metabolism-related genes in femur and tibia”<-what we are interested in an increase in fluid flow and hydrostatic pressure to induce chondrogenic differentiation.  Hydrostatic pressure by itself isn’t likely to induce chondrogenic differentiation by itself as it is typically three orders of magnitude below the pressure needed to induce chondrogenic differentiation.  But the addition of bone deformation and fluid flow may bridge the gap and induce chondroinduction.

“Male Sprague–Dawley rats (~12weeks of age)”

“knee loading was achieved through dynamic loads applied to the left and right knee joints of rats in the lateral–medial direction, respectively. To position the knee properly, the lower end of the loading rod and the upper end of the stator were designed to form a pair of semispherical cups. The lateral and medial epicondyles of the femur together with the lateral and medial condyles of the tibia were confined in the cups.  The tip of the loader had a contact
area of 15 mm in diameter.”

See Figure 1 of the paper(first link on the page) for an image of the knee loader.

Loading increased vascular remodeling in the osteonecrosis + LSJL group but not versus control.  But there was no normal bone plus loading group.

Joint Loading actually seemed to reduce the number of mesenchymal stem cells but that could be due an increase in differentiation.  Mesenchymal condensation was more visible in the osteonecrosis group and mesenchymal condensation is a prerequisite for neo-growth plate formation.

Bone, Accepted manuscript. doi:10.1016/j.bone.2015.09.012

Knee Loading seemed to restore osteoclast adhesion and migration to slightly above control levels but that slightly above could indicate activity that would remodel the bone enough to allow for mesenchymal condensation.

Bone, Accepted manuscript. doi:10.1016/j.bone.2015.09.012

Knee loading greatly increased CFU-F and Osteoblast differentiation versus both osteonecrosis and control group. “Knee loading enhanced differentiation of osteoblasts and fibroblasts.” Fibroblastic tissue(marked by CFU-F) could potentially become chondrogenic tissue.  Fibrocartilage is a thing.  But to be a true growth plate, additional mechanical stimulation would be needed to turn that fibrocartilage into pure cartilage.

Bone, Accepted manuscript. doi:10.1016/j.bone.2015.09.012

Knee loading increased the height of the femoral head partially

Bone, Accepted manuscript. doi:10.1016/j.bone.2015.09.012

It’s a big breakthrough that LSJL increased height in the femoral head.  The osteonecrotic bone had far more marrow in B, thus under osteonecrosis LSJL may have had more room to induce growth.

The perichondrial ring of the growth plate is fibrocartilagenous in nature and may be the source to provide cells to the growth plate.

“The current histology and bone mineral density data are suggestive of the role of bone marrow-derived stem cells in load-driven bone healing, and they also establish a causal relationship between the observed vessel remodeling and bone healing effects with knee loading”<-This is huge because we want to induce stem cells to form neo-growth plates.

It was mentioned that LSJL upregulates bone metabolism related genes.  Here’s a study that lists bone metabolism related genes:

Association of osteoporosis susceptibility genes with bone mineral density and bone metabolism related markers in Koreans: the Chungju Metabolic Disease Cohort (CMC) study.

“bone metabolism-related markers, such as serum concentrations of calcium, phosphorus, PTH,
and 25(OH) D”

“genetic variants of MEF2C, ESR1, TNFRSF11B, and SOX6 were associated with bone metabolism-related markers”

LSJL Update 12-7-2016

Here’s the last LSJL update.

The growth seems pretty solid from last update:

Current

20161206_162420

1 month earlier:

20161108_155418

So increasing the intensity and duration of clamping on the right foot seems to have worked.  I’ll keep trying to see if can get more growth.  I may have some growth in my right hand from clamping there but I’ll wait to see if the growth is more significant as I can always get x-rays there.

I’ll also try to get growth in the longer limbs but once I can prove growth in smaller limbs I can get more resources to use for the longer ones.  It does seem like the foot itself is growing more than the toes so maybe it’s easier to grow those bone shapes even though there’s a lot of the same obstacles for longitudinal bone growth for “short” bones there could be differences we don’t know about.  these bones are also surrounded by different tissues than long bones which could make a difference.

So I’ll try the same intensity/density of clamping on the foot and see if I can grow on the hands and other limbs and increase clamping intensity on those areas.