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Gene Test May Help Predict Success of Weight-Loss Surgery
Date:5/2/2013

By Brenda Goodman
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss after gastric bypass surgery varies widely, and scientists say they have identified a genetic variation that may help explain the discrepancy.

The discovery, detailed in a study published May 2 in the American Journal of Human Genetics, is already driving creation of a gene test that may one day help patients predict how many pounds they might shed after weight-loss surgery.

Some patients lose 60 percent of their weight after the surgery, and others just 15 percent. Factors such as age, activity level and whether a patient has other health problems, such as diabetes, help doctors estimate a patient's potential results.

But sometimes, patients who seem like great candidates for the surgery don't slim down as much as they'd hoped.

"This is heartbreaking for those folks who have been brave enough and struggled enough to get to the point of having surgery and then experience failure in terms of weight loss," said Molly Bray, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not involved in the research.

"Identifying markers that can predict response to surgery prior to its undertaking would be extremely important," said Bray, whose research involves the genetic basis of obesity.

For the new study, researchers surveyed the genomes of more than 1,000 patients who had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, where surgeons seal off the upper portion of the stomach to make a smaller pouch and then connect that to the middle portion of the small intestine.

One location turned out to be significantly associated with weight loss after surgery.

The location in question doesn't lie within a gene. Genes contain instructions that tell the body to make specific proteins. Instead, it seems to sit in a stretch of DNA between two genes on chromosome 15. The researchers said they're not su
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