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VITAMIN D

DEFICIENCY

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Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a novel genetic

cause of severe obesity which, although relatively rare, demonstrates for the first time

that genes can reduce basal metabolic rate (how the body burns calories). Previous

studies demonstrated that when the gene KSR2 (Kinase Suppressor of Ras 2) was

deleted in mice, the animals became severely obese.

As a result of this research, Professor Sadaf Farooqi from the University of

Cambridge's Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science explored whether

KSR2 mutations might also lead to obesity in humans. In collaboration with Dr Ines

Barroso's team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the researchers sequenced

the DNA from over 2,000 severely obese patients and identified multiple mutations in

the KSR2 gene. The research was published in the journal Cell.

KSR2 belongs to a group of proteins called scaffolding proteins which play a critical

role in ensuring that signals from hormones such as insulin are correctly processed by

cells in the body to regulate how cells grow, divide and use energy. To investigate how

KSR2 mutations might lead to obesity, Professor Farooqi's team performed a series of

experiments which showed that many of the mutations disrupt these cellular signals

and, importantly, reduce the ability of cells to use glucose and fatty acids.

Changes in diet and levels of physical activity underlie the recent increase in

obesity in the UK and worldwide. However, there is a lot of variation in how much

weight people gain. This variation between people is largely influenced by genetic

factors, and many of the genes involved act in the brain. The discovery of a new

obesity gene, KSR2, adds another level of complexity to the body's mechanisms for

regulating weight. The Cambridge team is continuing to study the genetic factors

influencing obesity, findings which they hope to translate into beneficial therapies in

the future.

Professor Farooqi's research was funded by the Wellcome Trust.

GENETIC CAUSE TO OBESITY

Lack of sunshine and modern diets

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IN THE NEWS

www.loveursoulwellbeing.com A couple of intriguing news items caught our attention. Could

the infamous Prescott Punch have been down to dodgy

blood sugars? Read more here. And there may be the chance

of a breathylyzer to test our glucose levels. Read more here.

providing accuracy and

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