Wednesday June 19, 2019

20 Genes That Can Predict Severity of Dengue Identified

The genes could serve as a basis for a targeted therapy for dengue, Einav said - but that's far on the horizon

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Researchers, including one of an Indian-origin, have identified 20 genes that can predict an individual’s likelihood of developing a severe form of dengue fever with about 80 per cent accuracy.

The team from Standford University in the US, identified a gene-expression pattern that predicts which people infected with dengue — a mosquito-borne virus that can cause fever and joint pain, among other symptoms — are at highest risk for developing a severe form of the illness.

Every year, between 200 million and 400 million people in tropical and subtropical regions of the world contract dengue fever, and about 500,000 of those cases are fatal.

For the most part, people with the disease recover after receiving some fluids and a few days’ rest, said Purvesh Khatri, Associate Professor at the varsity.

“But there’s a smaller subset of patients who get severe dengue, and right now we don’t know how to tell the difference,” Khatri said.

Aedes
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito that typically attacks during day time. Pixabay

Anywhere from 5 to 20 per cent of dengue cases will advance to severe.

Currently, to diagnose severe dengue the doctors wait to observe specific symptoms and results of laboratory tests that typically emerge in the late stages of the disease.

“These practices are not nearly sensitive or accurate enough, and some patients end up admitted to the hospital unnecessarily, while others are discharged prematurely,” said Shirit Einav, Associate Professor.

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The new set of genes, reported in the Cell Reports journal, can help identify predictive biomarkers that can help doctors reliably gauge the likelihood of severe dengue in patients who are newly symptomatic and use that information to provide more accurate care to help guide therapeutic clinical studies and, in the future, to guide treatment decisions.

The genes could serve as a basis for a targeted therapy for dengue, Einav said – but that’s far on the horizon. (IANS)

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Researchers Identify Gene Linked to Obesity in Children

Approximately 70 per cent of the human population carries at least one variant of this polymorphism, which is associated with an increased risk of obesity

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Researchers have identified a common gene variant that increases the risk of obesity in children.
In a study published in Obesity journal, the researchers from University of Columbia found that a specific variant (single nucleotide polymorphism) of a gene called “FTO” affects eating behaviour that may be predictive of subsequent weight gain in children, who are at obesity risk.
“Early identification of the physiology and behaviours that constitute early risk factors for subsequent weight gain will help inform best practices for intervention and prevention of obesity in children,” said study author Michael Rosenbaum, a professor at Columbia University.
“This study shows that even before the development of an obese phenotype, children at risk, in this case by virtue of a common genetic variant, exhibit increased food intake,” added Rosenbaum.
For the study, the researchers included 122 children in the 5-10 year age group.
Obesity can now be cured by our body's natural weighing scales.
Obesity can now be cured by our body’s natural weighing scales.
The study discovered that children who are at risk of obesity due to this genetic variant had an increased calorie intake which may contribute to gaining excess weight.
“Even though 65 calories is not a lot per se, if this pattern generalized to multiple meals per week or day, this increased caloric intake can add up over time and may contribute to gaining excess weight,” said Rosenbaum.
According to the researchers, the report could be used to further study children at obesity risk for other reasons.
“The ultimate goal is to prevent the at-risk child or the child who has obesity from becoming an adult with obesity,” added Rosenbaum.
Approximately 70 per cent of the human population carries at least one variant of this polymorphism, which is associated with an increased risk of obesity. (IANS)