London scientists say gene makes people obese - WKRN News 2

London scientists say gene makes people obese

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

London scientists say they have discovered a gene that makes people obese by making them eat more.

According to scientists, one in six people have a gene that makes them 70% more likely to become obese.  

"They've linked this gene to a certain hormone in the body that's often called the hunger hormone," explained Physician scientist Kevin Niswinder.

Ghrelin, the so-called hunger hormone, peaks in a person's body just before eating. In a new study, scientists examined blood samples from people without and without the gene after they consumed a meal.

"It's possible that findings like this can explain why some people can eat a large meal and not feel full and why other people might consume a smaller meal and feel completely full and completely happy with the meal they've eaten," Niswinder said.  

Despite not having all the answers, Niswinder said he believes the London scientists have made a strong enough connection.

"There is going to be a lot of scientists and a lot of investigators really working very hard now to uncover how the gene changes the hormone levels and how changes in those hormone levels regulate parts of the brain we didn't previously know about," he said.

Niswinder added research could eventually lead to dietary approaches that could help control the hunger gene.

Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

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