Healthy and Active

2014

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We've all known that person: the woman who can eat a huge amount of food, vows she never exercises and does not gain an ounce of weight. She credits her slender physique to good genes. Does that mean that those who struggle with weight can blame bad genes? We inherit genetic traits from our parents and ancestors. Some (like eye color) have to do with how we look, while others (like high blood pressure) have to do with how our bodies function. A breakthrough study by the research team at the TOPS Obesity and Metabolic Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin has found evidence of new genes related to obesity. This is important because if scientists know which genes are detrimental to our health, then they may be able to develop treatments for or prevent the symptoms caused by bad genes. But how might scientists pinpoint where something has gone wrong in our genetic makeup, called the genome? Researchers at the TOPS Center used DNA provided by 85 TOPS families. This group of 1,000 participants included grandparents, parents, children—and even great-grandchildren. In looking at DNA across all photos courtesy of tina leann PHOTOGRAPHY for tops club, inc., unless otherwise indicated Breakthrough Research Finds Two Genes Related to Obesity Lab Manager Regina Cole examines a sample. generations, researchers found two genes that may influence whether someone develops metabolic syndrome, which doubles the risk for heart disease and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome affects about 1 in 5 American adults. Someone with metabolic syndrome has at least three of these risk factors: • bdominal obesity characterized by a large A waistline or apple shape • ow levels of "good" cholesterol L • igh levels of triglycerides, a form of fat H found in blood • igh blood pressure H • igh fasting blood sugar, which can be an H early sign of diabetes So far, the TOPS families' DNA samples have made it possible for researchers to examine almost 1 million variations in genes 60 HEALTHY & ACTIVE 2014

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