Study of obese family leads to CEP19 gene discovery

Nov. 21, 2013, HealthDay

Researchers report that they have identified a gene that is tied to severe obesity.

They say their findings could lead to new treatments for obesity.

The team studied an Israeli Arab family whose members were severely obese. They found that the family members had a mutation in a gene that produces a protein called CEP19.

When the researchers deleted this gene in mice, the rodents became obese and developed diabetes. They also had increased appetites and burned less energy.

Scientists note, however, that research done in animals often fails to produce similar results in humans. Continue reading

‘Severely obese:’ 5 percent of U.S. kids, teens fit risky new category

Sept. 9, 2013, NBC News

By JoNel Aleccia

Overall obesity rates for American kids may have leveled off, but a new report finds that children and teens at the far end of the spectrum are getting heavier, faster — with about 5 percent now classified as “severely obese.”

That means nearly 4 million U.S. youth fall into a new category of obesity risk, one that carries dangers of serious disease and early death, even beyond expected harms, according to a scientific statement published Sept. 9 by the American Heart Association.

“It appears that severe obesity is the fastest-growing subcategory of obesity in youth,” write the authors in the report published in the journal Circulation.

Worse, when children get that big, it’s difficult to help them lose weight with traditional tools of diet and exercise, or even with drugs and surgery. Continue reading