Tuesday, April 20, 2010

People with 'Fat Gene' Variant More Susceptible to Alzheimer's

Source: Reuters Health (Summary by NIM)

More than one third of the US population is burdened with a 'bad' variant of the FTO gene, or the fat mass and obesity gene. These individuals are more likely to put on weight and be heavier than people with the 'good' version of this gene. Weight issues aside, new research has found that these same individuals are prone to brain defects and are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Now, this is not meant to serve as an excuse for overweight or obese individuals - this particular gene variant makes people more likely to be heavier set, however this predisposition, in addition to the increased risk of mental health issues, is not meant to be taken as a sentence. The researchers behind this study have stressed that following a healthy diet combined with regular exercise has been shown to prevent both of these outcomes from occurring.
On the contrary, if individuals do not heed this warning and continue to lead unhealthy lifestyles, then unfortunately, they are increasing their risk of not only the above noted conditions, but others as well.

According to one of the researchers, Paul Thompson, a professor of neurology at the University of California Los Angeles, "In all the maelstrom of activities you do, exercise and a low-fat diet are genuinely saving your brain from both stroke and Alzheimer's,".

Find out more about this study by reading the article called "Gene makes people fat, raises Alzheimer's risk" from Reuters Health (Apr. 19, 2010).