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Study: Missing Gene Linked to Appetite Control and Obesity

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, August 29, 2008 10:00 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Appetite Control, Diet, Protecting Your Family, Obesity, BDNF, WAGR Syndrome


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IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / body-mass index (BMI) / author: Amog

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests adults and children who excessively overeat may be missing a gene for a brain chemical that is needed for appetite control.

The study, conducted by National Institutes of Health (NIH), involved 33 adults and children with WAGR syndrome, a rare disorder in which clusters of genes are deleted. Researchers examined the correlation between genotype and body-mass index (BMI).

The genetic abnormality is found in approximately 250 people in the United States.

Half of those observed were missing one of two genes for BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) and had low blood levels of the chemical. By 10-years of age, those persons who were missing the gene, were reportedly obese or overweight with excessive overeating habits.

The other 14 persons studied, who had two working copies of the gene, were no more likely to be obese or excessively overeat than that of the average person.

The missing BDNF gene may help us to better understand why some people have greater difficulty losing weight or controlling their eating habits than that of others, said Jack Yanovski, Head of the Unit on Growth and Obesity, in the Developmental Endocrinology Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH.

“We suspect BDNF involves many important functions in several areas of the brain, such as memory function and ability to detect pain,” he said.

BDNF works alongside other chemicals within the body, such as leptin, to stabilize appetite control and body weight. More studies are needed before scientists will be able to develop new medications to treat obese people who don’t produce enough of the BDNF chemical, said Yanovski.

Low levels of BDNF are a small fraction of a bigger problem as to why some people struggle to maintain a healthy weight.

A recent study in the journal of Obesity says all American adults may become overweight in forty years if the current weight trends continue unchanged.

And another recent study found obesity rates among adults have surged in 37 states over the last year, according to the fifth annual F as in Fat report. 25 percent of adults are obese in 28 states, up from 19 states last year. #


1 Comment

Posted by BassPlayerKeithHall
Saturday, August 30, 2008 6:22 AM EST

I have been on the Chew Chew Diet for 5 months and have lost 50 pounds. All I do is not eat breakfast, est 2 meals a day and chew eat bite 32 times.

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