Monday, December 15, 2008

Genetics and Obesity

The advance online articles for Nature Genetics include two studies which identify genes which influence the brain activity involved with appetite. The Globe as the scoop here. Here is a sample:

Researchers have identified six new gene mutations linked to obesity that point to ways the brain and nervous system control eating and metabolism.

...."One of the most notable aspects of these discoveries is that most of these new risk factors are near genes that regulate processes in the brain,” added Dr. Stefansson, whose company hopes to sell genetic tests based on such discoveries.

“This suggests that as we work to develop better means of combatting obesity, including using these discoveries as the first step in developing new drugs, we need to focus on the regulation of appetite at least as much as on the metabolic factors of how the body uses and stores energy,” Dr. Stefansson said.

“These new variants may point to valuable new drug targets."