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Scientists solve fat-boosting gene mystery

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New study conducted by an international team of researchers has unveiled the mystery of a genetic flaw which significantly increases the risk of obesity.

A type of gene called FTO, which is known as fat-boosting gene, has put many lives at higher risks of obesity that is estimated to be one in six people.

The recent study revealed that FTO made fatty foods more tempting and affected on hunger hormone called ghrelin, according to the paper published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The team, led by researchers at University College London, studied people with two copies of the FTO gene inherited from each parent. Each copy comes in a high and a low-risk form.

Those people who have two-high risk copies of the FTO gene are reported to be 70% more likely to become overweight than those ones with low-risk genes.

Examining the two groups unraveled that the level of hunger hormone did not fall in men with the high-risk genes after eating meal and even their ghrelin levels began to increase quickly.

Furthermore, a series of brain scans after a meal demonstrated that in the high-risk patients pictures of high-fat foods were more appealing than in the low-risk group.

“Their brain is set up to be particularly interested in anything to do with high-calorie food,” said Dr Rachel Batterham, head of the centre for obesity research at University College London.

While experts have tied a person’s genetic code to obesity, they believe that drugs targeting ghrelin might reduce weight gain.

“Protein meals do lower ghrelin more, so anything that suppresses ghrelin is more likely to be effective in FTO patients,” Batterham explained while stressed that exercise such as cycling was also an excellent way to reduce ghrelin levels.


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