Category: Epigenetics & Obesity

More evidence of genetic role in obesity

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Epigenetics & Obesity, Obesity Initiative at UGA

Is obesity a disease, as the AMA recently decided? A condition? Or a reflection of an individual’s self control? More evidence that genetics contributes to obesity was revealed this week in a study published this week in the journal Science.

Scientists discovered a gene that acts in the brain to control weight, normally by signaling  another gene already known to be involved in controlling appetite. They  hypothesized that deleting the helper gene would increase appetite — and in their mouse studies, it did.

“The history of obesity for many many years has been one of blaming people for lack of self control,” said Dr. Joseph Majzoub, chief of endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author of the new paper. “If some of it is due to a slow metabolism, that would completely change the perspectives of parents and patients. It really would change the way we think of the disease.”

Fat, Genes, and Health: Obesity speaker series comes to UGA

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Epigenetics & Obesity, Obesity Initiative at UGA, University of Georgia

The Obesity Initiative, in partnership with other UGA colleges and departments, is kicking off a speaker series this fall. The series brings experts from beyond the UGA campus to shed light on the science of obesity.

Check all of the events on this page. Here’s a quick rundown of the series details:

  • October 25, 3-4 p.m. in Tate Center 481: Alicia Smith, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University. Her lecture is “When Nature Meets Nurture: Epigenetic Effects of Prenatal Exposures.” Dr. Smith studies the role of genetic and environmental factors in the development and symptoms of stress-related disorders across the lifespan.
  • October 31, 12:20-1:10 p.m. in Dawson Hall 110: Leann Birch, distinguished professor of human development and director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University. Her lecture is “Factors that Influence the Developing Controls of Food Intake from Infancy through Adolescence.” Dr. Birch’s research investigates factors that influence the developing controls of food intake from infancy through adolescence.
  • November 1, (Time and Location TBD): Timothy Smith, professor of psychology at the University of Utah. His lecture is “Relationships and Cardiovascular Health.”Smith’s research addresses personality and social risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Timothy Smithincluding the application of theory and methods from the interpersonal tradition in clinical, personality, and social psychology to the conceptualization and assessment of psychosocial risk factors for disease, and the study of the psychophysiological mechanisms linking risk factors to disease.
  • November 7, (Time and Location TBD): Clifford J. Rosen is the director of clinical and translational research and a senior scientist at Maine Medical Center’s Research Institute. Clifford RosenHis lecture is “What’s Between Fat and Bone?” Dr. Rosen is the founder and former director of the Maine Center for Osteoporosis Research and Education.  He was the first editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Densitometry, is the current editor-in-chief of The Primer in Metabolic Bone Diseases, and just began a term as Associate Editor for JCEM.  His publications include more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts, covering both clinical and basic bone biology.
  • February 6, (Time and Location TBD): Michael Goran is the director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center and USC Center for Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer, Michael Goranas well as the co-director of the USC Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute and professor of preventative medicine, physiology & biophysics, and pediatrics. His lecture is “Regulation of Excess Fat Deposition During Growth and Development: Novel Strategies for Prevention and Treatment.” Dr. Goran’s research is focused on understanding the metabolic factors linking obesity to increased disease risk during growth and development and using this information as a basis for developing new behavioral and community approaches for prevention and risk reduction.

Come back for more updates on time, location, and additional speakers added to the series!