Navigation Links
Obesity gene, carried by more than a third of the US population, leads to brain tissue loss
Date:4/19/2010

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.

Using magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers generated three-dimensional "maps" of brain volume differences in 206 healthy elderly subjects drawn from 58 sites in the U.S. as part of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a large, five-year study aimed at better understanding factors that help the brain resist disease as it ages.

They found that there was consistently less tissue in the brains of those who carry the FTO allele, compared with non-carriers. Individuals with the "bad" version of the FTO gene had an average of 8 percent less tissue in the frontal lobes, the "command center" of the brain, and 12 percent less in the occipital lobes, areas in the back of the brain responsible for vision and perception. Further, the brain differences could not be directly attributed to other obesity-related factors such as cholesterol levels, diabetes or high blood pressure.

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."

People who carry this specific DNA sequence are heavier on average, and their waist circumference is half an inch bigger.

This is a large percentage of the population, said Thompson, who is also a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute and the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.

"This is a shocking finding. Any loss of brain tissue puts you at greater risk for functional decline," he said. "The risk gene divides the world into two camps ― those who have the FTO allele and those who don't."

But the news is not necessarily completely negative, Thompson said, because "carriers of the risk gene can exercise and eat healthily to resist both obesity and brain decline."

Thompson sees both a public health message and a science message in this finding.

"Half of the world carries this dangerous gene. But a healthy lifestyle will counteract the risk of brain loss, whether you carry the gene or not. So it's vital to boost your brain health by being physically active and eating a balanced diet," he said.

And from a scientific standpoint, he said, "the gene discovery will help to develop and fine tune the anti-dementia drugs being developed to combat brain aging."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. EVMS researchers identify potential target for treatment of obesity-related diseases
2. Eating disorders, obesity and communications experts tackle weighty matters
3. Rochester study connects workplace turmoil, stress and obesity
4. Einstein-Montefiore research tackles childhood obesity in the Bronx
5. Seaweed to tackle rising tide of obesity
6. STOP Obesity Alliance surveys show doctors, patients share role in weight loss, but ask, now what?
7. Obesity and passive smoking reduce oxygen supply to unborn baby
8. Babys obesity risk: Whats the mothers influence?
9. Center aims to cut obesity in black, Latino New Yorkers
10. Study finds that low-income women living in small cities have higher chance of obesity
11. Community involvement important in fight against childhood obesity, according to UTHealth researchers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2016)... Czech Republic , February 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... EU-regulated global payment platform which presents innovation for ... Biometrics Authentication feature called VoiceKey. --> ... platform which presents innovation for clients, comfort and ... called VoiceKey. --> Worldcore ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... -- The field of Human Microbiome research and ... hubs of the biotechnology industry. While the Human ... human microbiota, have garnered a lot of attention ... has literally exploded in terms of both basic ... on biomedical aspects of research, development, and commercial ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... -- --> --> ... Identification System Market by Component (Hardware and Software), Search ... Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) and Geography - Global Forecast ... to be worth USD 8.49 Billion by 2020 at ... The transformation and technology evolution from the manual process ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... 10, 2016  IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a ... medical radioisotope applications for the treatment of prostate, brain, ... its financial results for the second quarter and six ... --> --> ... fiscal 2016, which ended December 31, 2015, a 12% ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... centers across three states, announced today the promotion of two long-standing principal investigators ... Chief of Family Medicine, Clinical Research and Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... their comprehensive training and support program, Sonalinkā„¢ remote monitoring. The inaugural launch of ... on Friday, February 5th, connecting Dr. Samuel Peretsman to a HIFU technical expert ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, ... Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) and its affiliate Global Medical Training Network ... adipose and bone marrow therapies. , Through the new collaboration, Global Stem ...
Breaking Biology Technology: