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Obesity Gene, Carried by More Than a Third of the US Population, Leads to Brain Tissue Loss

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posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:08 PM
Full Story

Three years ago, geneticists reported the startling discovery that nearly half of all people in the U.S. with European ancestry carry a variant of the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene, which causes them to gain weight -- from three to seven pounds, on average -- but worse, puts them at risk for obesity.

Now, UCLA researchers have found that the same gene allele, which is also carried by roughly one-quarter of U.S. Hispanics, 15 percent of African Americans and 15 percent of Asian Americans, may have another deleterious effect.

Reporting in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, senior study author Paul Thompson, a UCLA professor of neurology; lead authors April Ho and Jason Stein, graduate students in Thompson's lab; and colleagues found that the FTO variant is also associated with a loss of brain tissue. This puts more than a third of the U.S. population at risk for a variety of diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

I recommend reading the entire story, and I agree that this is indeed worrying and kinda 'mysterious' too, more like bizarre actually. But the bright side is, since now the gene characteristic is discovered, more studies can be conducted and I'm pretty sure things will improve in the future.

edit: format

[edit on Tue, 20 Apr 10 by Jazzyguy]

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:34 PM
I saw this on PBS.

They experimented on rats, changing the gene, and you could just watch the manipulated gene mouse just eat eat eat, and lay around.

The other mice, just fine.

They also figured out a way to build muscle and burn fat at the same time by 'fixing' the mitochondria. ( I believe that's right.... it was a while ago)

Cool stuff.

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 12:39 PM
A study out just last week showed that an hour of exercise daily was sufficient to keep teenagers from gaining excessive weight, even with that gene.

One factor about the gene is that there are moderators. To a large extent, there appears to be a critical point where the percent body fat of the patient "turns-on" the gene, allowing full expression of the gene. Those people with the gene who maintain low body-fat percentages do not seem to suffer the same type of pathologies as those who have the ghiger percent body fat.

posted on Apr, 20 2010 @ 01:00 PM
reply to post by Truth1000

Yes, but what body fat has anything to do with brain tissue loss.
The link hasn't yet clearly established I believe. It's indeed a bizarre widespread gene.

Thompson called the findings worrying and mysterious.

"The results are curious. If you have the bad FTO gene, your weight affects your brain adversely in terms of tissue loss," he said. "If you don't carry FTO, higher body weight doesn't translate into brain deficits; in fact, it has nothing to do with it. This is a very mysterious, widespread gene."

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