Are We Finally Winning The Fight Against Obesity?

August 24, 2015


Since 2/3 of the population in the US is either obese or considered to be overweight, we simply need to win this fight, and now it appears we might just be on the brink of it.

Namely, scientists from two of America’s top universities, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have managed to identify the “obesity gene”.

Something like the Higgs boson, but for being fat. This, however, might be one of the greatest steps toward dealing with obesity so far.

So, what did they manage to find exactly?

The report said scientists were finally able to understand how this FTO gene, or obesity gene, causes obesity. The scientist took fat samples from Europeans with and without the variant FTO gene, and discovered that the DNA code of the FTO gene was causing two other associated genes, IRX3 and IRX5, to “actively prevent fat cells from burning energy in the form of heat, called thermogenesis. Instead, the genes stored the energy as fat.”

On the other hand, people with the healthy FTO gene were able burn the energy normally, in the form of heat. Scientists later managed to edit the faulty DNA coding, stopping the body from storing the excess energy as fat. Awesome stuff.

The author of the study, Manolis Kellis, explained why this experiment is groundbreaking for the fight against obesity. “By manipulating this new pathway, we could switch between energy storage and energy dissipation programs at both the cellular and the organismal level, providing new hope for a cure against obesity,” she said and added:

“Obesity has traditionally been seen as the result of an imbalance between the amount of food we eat and how much we exercise, but this view ignores the contribution of genetics to each individual’s metabolism.”

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