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Study Links Same Gene to Obesity and Diabetes

Jul 19, 2005 |

A new study in Britain and France has confirmed the connection believed to exist between obesity and type-2 diabetes. This type of diabetes develops over time starting as a condition called insulin resistance.

While overweight individuals have been shown to be more likely to develop insulin resistance, current research explains that there is a genetic component tying these problems together.

In a study of 62 families with a tendency towards obesity, a common presence of the gene ENPP1 was found. Abnormalities in this gene, which controls the cells’ response to insulin, were shown to disrupt the body’s storage of energy and processing of sugar by blocking the insulin hormone.

Diabetes results when the cells are not able to use insulin correctly thereby causing the high levels of glucose in the blood.

The most disturbing finding was the affect of abnormal ENPP1 in children. Researchers at the Imperial College in London, UK, and the Institut Pasteur in Lille, France, analyzed the genes of 1,225 obese children and identified ENPP1 mutations.

“What is extremely worrying is the children who had these mutations developed obesity at an early age-age five to six and diabetes occurred at middle age” said Dr. Philippe Froguel.  

Although Dr. Froguel is encouraged that the discoveries would spur the development of new therapies and treatment, he emphasized the importance of healthy life style especially for those at high risk.

 All the genetics being understood, the most basic remedies, a reduction in sugar and fat content in food and an increase in exercise, still seem to be the best answer for staying healthy.

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