Scientists Link Genes to Obesity

Thursday 5th August 2010

Put down that cream cake – as new research from Yale University's Medical School shows that some people are genetically pre-disposed to obesity and are more likely to gain weight as their brains are hard-wired to eat to excess. Researchers at the ivy-league university found that some people are born with genes that affect the brain's feeding centres – causing them to eat greedily and become overweight.

Researchers discovered the link between brain development and obesity whilst conducting an animal study using lab mice especially bred to have enlarged synaptic 'feeding centres' in the brain. The researchers found that these mice were more likely to eat greedily as neurons in the brain did not function normally and failed to transmit signals that would stop eating and encourage exercise.

The research team also found that the brains of mice with genetically enlarged feeding centres tended to be inflamed. Experts warn that this brain inflammation could be at the root of why obese people struggle to lose weight.

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