BDNF gene linked to obesity was found by a new research study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. According to scientists there is a variation on the BDNF gene that can influence the development of obesity in both children and adults.
It seems that appetite related obesity issues can be corrected by adjusting the intake of a drug made to correct the imbalance in the brain-derived neurotropic factor (which is what BDNF stands for). For people with this single gene variation, this process can help correct their appetite control as the gene has to do with influencing how much people feel the need to eat.
According to doctor Jack Yanovski, a researcher at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the BDNF gene has been linked to obesity in previous scientific studies so researchers have been paying close attention to it, trying to figure out how exactly it is linked to the issue and how manipulating this single gene can change the predisposition a person carrying it has to becoming obese.
The way the process can work, according to this study, is by operating a genetic change on the BDNF gene and thus affecting its protein levels. The fact that the existence of this single gene in some people, more commonly found in Hispanic and black people than white people as the study found, and the fact that it represents a specific cause of obesity in some, can help doctors find more effective and personalized treatments for many patients.
What the protein affects and regulates in the feeling of fullness a person experiences, as it stimulates the brain and nervous levels and is basically responsible for making our brains tell us we are full.
By working on samples of brain tissue the scientists involved in the study managed to affect BDNF levels in the brain, specifically in the hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain that controls eating and influences body weight.
This type of gene can cause imbalance in the body as it affects how our cells process and store energy. If a gene responsible for sending our cells the information necessary to know how much energy to store is faulty or functions badly in any way, it may cause our bodies to store too much and thus cause weight gain.
The study made some very important discoveries at a time when obesity is a serious and growing problem in the U.S. Knowing which genes predispose somebody to obesity can help doctors develop more effective and personalized courses of treatment for individuals suffering from this affliction.
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