Wednesday March 27, 2019

Researchers Identify Genes Causing Obesity

Performing functional studies across other organisms, the team also identified two genes that were associated with significant increase in triglyceride and body fat across species

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obese children
India with 14.4 million had the second highest number of obese children in 2015. Pixabay

Researchers have identified genetic variants associated with obesity that is central to developing targeted interventions to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like hypertension, Type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found genetic sites that affect human body’s size and shape, including height and obesity. The findings will help understand how genes can predispose certain individuals to obesity.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers found 24 coding loci (or positions) — 15 common and nine rare — along chromosomes of individuals that predispose to higher waist-to-hip ratio.

Higher values of waist-to-hip ratio are associated with more incidence of diseases associated with obesity.

Obesity can now be cured by our body's natural weighing scales.
Obesity can now be cured by our body’s natural weighing scales.

“For the first time, we were able to examine, on a large scale, how low-frequency and rare variants influence body fat distribution,” said North.

“A better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of body fat distribution may lead to better treatments for obesity and other downstream diseases obesity also impacts, for example Type-2 diabetes and heart disease,” suggested North.

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Further analysis revealed pathways and gene sets that influenced not only metabolism but also regulation of body fat tissue, bone growth and adiponectin, a hormone that controls glucose levels and breaks down fat.

Performing functional studies across other organisms, the team also identified two genes that were associated with significant increase in triglyceride and body fat across species. (IANS)

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Obesity Can Result in Early Onset of Puberty: Study

Controlling the obesity epidemic in children could be useful in decreasing these risks, Mericq noted

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Obesity
An overweight woman sits on a chair in Times Square in New York, May 8, 2012. VOA

Obese boys and girls are likely to enter puberty at an early age, which can result in stunted growth or depression, finds a new study.

The study showed total body obesity and excess belly fat in boys aged four-seven years were associated with greater odds of starting puberty before age nine.

“With the increase in childhood obesity worldwide, there has been an advance in the age at which puberty begins in girls. But in boys the evidence has been controversial,” said lead researcher, Maria Veronica Mericq, Professor from the University of Chile.

The study that will be presented at the ongoing ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans, the US.

For the study, the researchers included 527 Chilean boys.

Obesity can now be cured by our body's natural weighing scales.
Obesity can now be cured by our body’s natural weighing scales.

Among boys aged five or six, those with obesity had nearly 2.7 times the odds of starting puberty early. Whereas those with excess belly fat had almost 6.4 higher odds of puberty before age nine, said Mericq.

She said excess belly fat more closely related to fat mass, because a higher BMI may reflected increased muscle, especially in athletes.

Precocious or early puberty has been linked to possible problems, including stunted growth, emotional-social problems like increased risks of depression and substance abuse.

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In addition, in boys, it could lead to higher incidence of testicular cancer in adulthood, said Mericq.

Controlling the obesity epidemic in children could be useful in decreasing these risks, Mericq noted. (IANS)