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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obesity and Related Genes Found

Obesityand genes related to it have been found in old experiments conducted by Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and the School of Medicine at the Stanford University. This result brings promise of information that is useful for many medical conditions.

Dr. Atul Butte, a PhD pediatrician at Packard Children‘s Hospital said they developed an easy way to turn the old data into possible genes for more study. Dr. Butte who is also the director of the hospital’s Center for Pediatric Bioinformatics said that when they put the data together, not only did they confirm the facts already identified, but they also discovered some new forecasts.

It is difficult to identify new genes responsible for complex diseases like diabetes, autism and obesity because these conditions are due to environmental aspects and interacting genes so this is quite a challenge.

Butte, also an assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine and his collaborator, Sangeeta English, a PhD analyzed the data from 49 researches whose only common element is that they conducted to search for genes that are significant to the storage of fat or body size.

What Butte and English did was to match pairs of the researches. They thought that if the gene is weak in one research it may have just been rejected but if the same gene is identified to be strong in two or more other researches, then it has become stronger.

When they analyzed the data further, they identified 16 genes that were positive in other researches like in six or more. Three were identified as positive in eight researches. Among the three, one gene was a well known obesity gene. The other two can be sent to the lab to find out what they do.
This just came on time because it has been claimed that this problem could lead to NHS Bankruptcy.

Dr. Colin Waine warned that the problem could lead to bankruptcy of NHS. He is chairman of the National Obesity Forum (NOF). He spoke at the fifth annual conference of the forum in London to discuss the challenge and what to do to overcome it. He said that despite the funding they get, the problem is escalating so fast that it will lead to type 2 diabetes.

The Foresight Tackling Obesities conducted a new research revealing that within 25 years, half of the population will be obese if the current trends continue. The director of Care at Diabetes, UK, Simon O'Neill, agreed with Dr. Waine and said further that the problem does not affect only adults but children as well.

The estimate is that there are about 1000 children in the UK with type 2 diabetes and all of them are obese. It is clear that there is an age group of obese children who face possible heart disease, amputations and blindness.
It is time to take action like Finland did.

Finland has a prevention programme based on research that with the change in diet and exercise, new cases of type 2 diabetes can be reduced by 58%. If the children would eat healthier and exercise more, the chance of developing the condition is reduced but the one to be addressed first is obesity.

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