Create Account | Sign In: Author or Forum

 
 
News  |  Journals  |  Conferences  |  Blogs  |  Articles  |  Forums  |  Twitter    
 

 Headlines:

 

Category: Neurology | Research | Nutrition | News

Back to Health News

Study Ties Obesity-Related Gene to Weaker Memory

Last Updated: November 09, 2012.

 

But it's not clear why connection exists or what it means

Share |

Comments: (0)

Tell-a-Friend

 

  Related
 
But it's not clear why connection exists or what it means.

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged people, a link may exist between weakened memory and genetic traits associated with obesity, raising the possibility that extra pounds change how our brains work, a new study suggests.

Researchers found the link between genes and memory in whites but not in blacks.

The research "could be useful in identifying people who may need more help with declining cognition," said John Speakman, a professor at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, who is familiar with the findings.

Although some people believe obesity is purely a failure of individual will, scientists think genetic makeup has a lot to do with the propensity to gain extra pounds. Studies of twins and families suggest that genes account for about 65 percent of variance in body weight, Speakman said.

The new study focuses on four genetic traits related to a gene that's thought to play a role in obesity. Researchers looked for signs of the traits among nearly 8,400 white and 2,100 black people aged 45 to 64.

They found signs of a link between problems being able to remember words and two of the genetic traits. The connection held up even after the researchers adjusted their results so they wouldn't be thrown off by factors like large or small numbers of people who were of certain ages, genders, levels of obesity and education levels.

What's going on? It's not clear. Speakman said it's possible that the gene may affect both weight and memory.

"On the other hand, they could be linked because of negative impacts of obesity on memory function, or vice versa," he said. "The data don't allow us to see if that might be the case."

Dr. Michael Schwartz, director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence at the University of Washington, in Seattle, pointed out that the connection held up even when the researchers tried to remove any influence of weight levels.

"That suggests that it was present regardless of whether individuals were lean or obese," said Schwartz, who is familiar with the study findings.

What about the apparent difference between blacks and whites in the research? Schwartz said limitations of the study may have prevented it from detecting similarities between the groups even though they exist.

In the big picture, he said, the research raises questions about these genetic variations and their effects on how the brain works. That can lead to future understanding of cause and effect and tell us how it all matters, he said.

The study, which appears online Nov. 7 in the journal Neurology, was supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Although the study found an association among memory problems, genetic traits and obesity, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

For more about obesity, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES John Speakman, professor, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; Michael Schwartz, M.D., director, Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence, University of Washington, Seattle; Nov. 7, 2012, Neurology online

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Previous: Good Feelings About Ex-Employer May Boost Self-Esteem in Jobless Next: Hip Surgery Increases Stroke Risk in Older Patients: Study

Reader comments on this article are listed below. Review our comments policy.


Submit your opinion:

Name:

Email:

Location:

URL:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)
 

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

 
     

 advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)

 

 

Useful Sites
MediLexicon
  Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us
Copyright © 2001-2014
Doctors Lounge.
All rights reserved.

Medical Reference:
Diseases | Symptoms
Drugs | Labs | Procedures
Software | Tutorials

Advertising
Links | Humor
Forum Archive
CME | Conferences

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions
Editorial Board
About us | Email

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.