Archives for 2011

23andMe as genomic social network research tool

Good article on how lower pricing has increased accessibility to 23andMe. Let’s see how long direct-to-consumer testing is available. You own your own results and that alone may be very valuable in the future. Without personal health history genetic data alone isn’t really meaningful. That’s where The DNA Diet comes in.

Anxiety and Anorexia

New understanding into why anorexics don’t want to eat even when they are starving themselves has been uncovered by researchers at UC San Diego
Instead of feeling good when they eat, anorexics feel anxious and are calmed when they refuse food.

Key gene discovery for obesity and diabetes

KLF14 is a gene thought to act like a “Master Switch” for controlling other genes in body fat. The MuTHER study is a large multi-national collaboration and used fat biopsies from under the skin or subcutaneous fat samples from 800 female twin subjects and confirmed that KLF14 was controlling distant gene expression levels in other genes found in the fat tissue with 600 samples from a separate group of people. KLF14 controls traits that in turn affect metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. This finding may help understand the causes of obesity and its related diseases and how

Our Microbial Self – does it determine our weight?

Scientists in Denmark note a difference in bacterial colonies and number of bacterial genes between lean and overweight or obese individuals. Is this a cause or result? Old Danish question – do storks bring babies or do babies simply arrive 9 months after most people go on vacation?
Interesting facts about the microbes that live inside us
100 trillion microbial cells in the human gut – 10 times more than body cells. Most of us have about 160 different species with two families dominating, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. The amount and ratio of these types in the gut appear to be associated with the weight of the person. Add fiber to your diet, increase fruit and vegetables, include probiotic rich foods like yogurt or sauerkraut for a healthy weight.

Food – A Cheap and Legal Addiction for Some

Functional MRI (fMRI) is rather like using Google Earth. It helps us to delve deeper into our understanding of how certain triggers activate centers in the brain associated with cravings and addictive behaviors. A recent study from Yale University published in Archives of General Psychiatry finds that women who completed a questionnaire that identifies substance dependence behaviors around food also responded to seeing and tasting a glass of chocolate milk shake. The reward centers were triggered by this cue just like cocaine in a drug addict. Maybe this is why it is so hard for people to diet – there are just too many cues around in our environment. Further studies will look at how much of this is learned rather than genetic. For most people it is probably a combination of both genes and environment.

The value of sleep as an obesity preventer

Sleep is restorative and vital for our health. What scientists at Harvard have learned is that it is also important for preventing obesity.

Just when it seemed easy in genomics…

Just as we thought we had the human genome identified and sorted – even though each individual whole genome sequence (WGS) has about half a million unique characteristics there is a whole new arena to discover.  The number of microbes that live on and in us now are thought to have profound effects on our internal metabolism.  Estimates vary but J Craig Venter, someone worth listening to, estimates that there are 200 trillion microbes providing 10 million extra genes.  Animals raised in germ free environments have significantly different metabolisms.  Sandrine Claus in a new study notes that mice raised in this way who were then exposed to bedding of mice with normal microbiota (their digestive systems had the usual amount of probiotics or additional genetic contribution from microorganisms) showed rapid increases in weight and changes in liver metabolism.   Food for thought.