Wednesday July 17, 2019

Skinny Genes Holds The Key ‘to Being Slim’

"If we can find the genes that prevent them from putting on weight, we may be able to target those genes to find new weight loss strategies and help people who do not have this advantage," Farooqi added

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Women use Bizarre Ways to Look Slim
Women use Bizarre Ways to Look Slim. Pixabay

It’s not only healthy food and exercise, but skinny genes that hold the key ‘to staying slim’, say researchers who found that slim people have a genetic advantage when it comes to maintaining their weight.

The study, led by University of Cambridge researchers, looked at why some people manage to stay thin while others easily gain weight.

They found that thin people had a much lower genetic risk score — they had fewer genetic variants that we know increase a person’s chances of being overweight.

“This research shows for the first time that healthy thin people are generally thin because they have a lower burden of genes that increase a person’s chances of being overweight and not because they are morally superior, as some people like to suggest,” said Professor Sadaf Farooqi from the varsity.

“It’s easy to rush to judgement and criticise people for their weight, but the science shows that things are far more complex. We have far less control over our weight than we might wish to think,” he added.

Your slim figure is because of your skinny genes. Pixabay

In the study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, the researchers compared the DNA of some 14,000 people — 1,622 thin volunteers, 1,985 severely obese people and 10,433 normal weight controls.

Three out of four people had a family history of being thin and healthy and the team found some genetic changes that were significantly more common in thin people, which they say may allow them to pinpoint new genes and biological mechanisms that help people stay thin.

To see what impact these genes had on an individual’s weight, the researchers added up the contribution of the different genetic variants to calculate a genetic risk score.

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“As anticipated, we found that obese people had a higher genetic risk score than normal weight people, which contributes to their risk of being overweight. The genetic dice are loaded against them,” explained Ines Barroso’s from the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

“If we can find the genes that prevent them from putting on weight, we may be able to target those genes to find new weight loss strategies and help people who do not have this advantage,” Farooqi added. (IANS)

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Massive Displacement in DR Congo’s Ebola-Affected Ituri Province Poses Serious Health Hazard

At least 160 people were killed during renewed clashes early last month between Lendu farmers and Hema herders

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FILE - A woman and her children wait to receive Ebola vaccinations, in the village of Mabalako, in eastern Congo Monday, June 17, 2019. VOA

The International Organization for Migration warns massive displacement from renewed inter-ethnic fighting in DR Congo’s Ebola-affected Ituri province poses a serious health hazard.

At least 160 people were killed during renewed clashes early last month between Lendu farmers and Hema herders in Ituri province.  U.N. agencies report the violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and sent more than 7,500 refugees fleeing for their lives into neighboring Uganda.

The International Organization for Migration reports people who have fled the frontline of the conflict are living in abysmal conditions that create a fertile ground for the spread of disease, most worryingly Ebola.

The latest World Health Organization figures put the number of Ebola cases at 2,382, including 1,606 deaths.  The bulk of these cases and deaths are in conflict-ridden North Kivu province   About 10 percent are in Ituri.

DR Congo, Ebola, Health
The International Organization for Migration warns massive displacement from renewed inter-ethnic fighting. Pixabay

The inter-communal fighting has displaced an estimated 400,000 people.  IOM spokesman, Joel Millman, says his agency manages 12 displacement sites in Ituri’s Djugu Territory.  Thousands of people unable to cram into these overcrowded camps, he says, are sheltering in spontaneous sites.

“Poor hygiene conditions in displacement sites severely increase the risk that Ebola, as well as cholera, measles and acute respiratory diseases, will spread,” Millman said. “Many of these people are seeking assistance in Ebola-affected Bunia, where the displacement site officially called “General Hospital Site” has received more than 5,000 new Internally Displaced Persons, increasing the site’s population to 10,000 or twice its capacity.”

Millman says plans are underway to relocate many of the IDPs to a new improved settlement on land owned by Bunia’s Catholic Diocese.

He says IOM also is reinforcing its Ebola surveillance and disease prevention activities at Ituri’s Points of Entry at International borders.  Measures include hand washing, hygiene promotion, and screening travelers for possible Ebola infections.

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On June 11, the first case of Ebola spread across the border from DRC to Uganda.  A five-year old boy and his grandmother subsequently died from the deadly virus.

Millman says IOM is working to reduce disease transmission to new areas and across borders by expanding its preparedness measures to include Uganda, South Sudan and Burundi. (VOA)