Breaking News
February 23, 2019 - Mogrify to accelerate novel IP and cell therapies using $3.7m USD funding
February 23, 2019 - Johns Hopkins study describes cells that may help speed bone repair
February 23, 2019 - Scientists demonstrate influence of food odors on proteostasis
February 23, 2019 - Researchers unlock the secret behind reproduction of fish called ‘Mary’
February 23, 2019 - Acupuncture Could Help Ease Menopausal Symptoms
February 23, 2019 - Researchers use AI to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s
February 23, 2019 - On recovery, vulnerability and ritual: An exhibit in white | News Center
February 23, 2019 - Memory Stored in Unexpected Region of the Brain
February 23, 2019 - Several health experts worldwide gather at EUDONORGAN event
February 23, 2019 - Discovery of potent compound in native California shrub may lead to treatment for Alzheimer’s
February 22, 2019 - Researchers create new map of the brain’s own immune system
February 22, 2019 - ICHE’s reviews on surgical infections, unnecessary urine tests, and nurses’ role in antibiotic stewardship
February 22, 2019 - UK Research and Innovation invests £200 million to create new generation of AI leaders
February 22, 2019 - Takeda collaboration to boost fight against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases
February 22, 2019 - Heavy drinking may change DNA, leading to increased craving for alcohol
February 22, 2019 - U.S. opioid deaths jump fourfold in 20 years; epidemic shifts to Eastern states | News Center
February 22, 2019 - 5 Questions with William Turner on Diversity in Medicine
February 22, 2019 - HHS Finalizes Rule Seeking To Expel Planned Parenthood From Family Planning Program
February 22, 2019 - Researchers uncover biochemical pathway that may help identify drugs to treat Alzheimer’s
February 22, 2019 - Biologist uses new grant to find ways to eliminate schistosomiasis
February 22, 2019 - Bag-mask ventilation to help patients breathe during intubation prevents complications
February 22, 2019 - AbbVie Announces New Drug Application Accepted for Priority Review by FDA for Upadacitinib for Treatment of Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis
February 22, 2019 - Nature versus nurture and addiction
February 22, 2019 - New website connects researchers with data experts, resources | News Center
February 22, 2019 - Today’s Concerns About Drug Prices Echo The Past
February 22, 2019 - CT and Doppler equipment have low accuracy in detecting cerebral vasospasm and ischemia
February 22, 2019 - Study finds out similarity in function between healthy retina cell and tumor cell
February 22, 2019 - CWRU awarded NIH grant to identify effective treatments for intimate partner violence
February 22, 2019 - Oncotype DX Not Cost-Effective for Low-Risk Breast Cancer
February 22, 2019 - Scientists discover new type of immune cells that are essential for forming heart valves
February 22, 2019 - Talk About Déjà Vu: Senators Set To Re-Enact Drug Price Hearing Of 60 Years Ago
February 22, 2019 - Genetic defect linked to pediatric liver disease identified
February 22, 2019 - New cellular atlas could provide a deeper insight into blinding diseases
February 22, 2019 - Growing number of cancer survivors, fewer providers point to challenge in meeting care needs
February 22, 2019 - Innovative compound offers a new therapeutic approach to treat multiple sclerosis
February 22, 2019 - $1.5 million grant to develop opioid treatment program for jail detainees
February 22, 2019 - FDA’s new proposed rule would update regulatory requirements for sunscreen products in the U.S
February 22, 2019 - Most Hip, Knee Replacements Last Decades, Study Finds
February 22, 2019 - Wellness problems prevalent among ob-gyn residents
February 22, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “The world is your oyster in geriatrics”
February 22, 2019 - Successful testing of multi-organ “human-on-a-chip” could replace animals as test subjects
February 22, 2019 - Analysis of cervical precancer shows decline in two strains of HPV
February 22, 2019 - Sugary stent eases suturing of blood vessels
February 22, 2019 - From surgery to psychiatry: A medical student reevaluates his motivations
February 22, 2019 - Is New App From Feds Your Answer To Navigating Medicare Coverage? Yes And No
February 22, 2019 - New pacemakers powered by heartbeats could reduce need for surgery
February 22, 2019 - The United States records highest drug overdose death rates
February 22, 2019 - Heart attacks more likely to be fatal in women and rates are rising
February 22, 2019 - Morning walks could be better than drugs at lowering blood pressure
February 22, 2019 - Phase 1 data reinforce safety profile of new drug for treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy
February 22, 2019 - Vitamin D supplementation less effective in the presence of obesity, shows study
February 22, 2019 - Novostia raises CHF 6.5 million to advance its aortic, mitral heart valve to clinical trials
February 22, 2019 - CPRIT awards nearly $20 million to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
February 22, 2019 - Sarepta Announces FDA Acceptance of Golodirsen (SRP-4053) New Drug Application for Patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Amenable to Skipping Exon 53
February 22, 2019 - An institutional effort to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed following lumbar surgery
February 22, 2019 - Family-history-based models perform better than non-family-history based models
February 22, 2019 - Failure to take statins leads to higher mortality rates | News Center
February 22, 2019 - New study explains why some patients report phantom sensations after limb amputation
February 22, 2019 - First motor-controlled heart valves implanted by Mainz University Medical Center
February 22, 2019 - Novel preclinical model mimics persistent interneuron loss seen in preterm infants
February 22, 2019 - Global health burden of glaucoma has increased, study reveals
February 22, 2019 - A holistic approach key to minimize treatment complexity in patients with interstitial lung disease
February 22, 2019 - 1 in 10 middle-aged Chinese adults are at high risk for heart disease, finds study
February 22, 2019 - More than half a million breast cancer patient’s lives saved by improvements in treatment
February 22, 2019 - Study finds no evidence that tougher policies prevent teenage cannabis use
February 22, 2019 - New blood test detects genetic disorders in fetuses
February 22, 2019 - Lower Self-Perception Observed in Children With Amblyopia
February 22, 2019 - Up to 15 percent of children have sleep apnea, yet 90 percent go undiagnosed
February 22, 2019 - Rare pulmonary defect prompts parents’ nationwide search for answers | News Center
February 22, 2019 - Lesbian and bisexual women at greater risk of being overweight, study finds
February 22, 2019 - UQ research may explain why vitamin D is essential for brain health
February 22, 2019 - Heart Attacks Rising Among Younger Women
February 22, 2019 - How your smartphone is affecting your relationship
February 22, 2019 - Orthopaedic surgeon receives prestigious award, $10 million grant | News Center
February 22, 2019 - New sepsis test could save thousands of lives
February 22, 2019 - Cervical cancer could be eradicated by 2100
February 21, 2019 - Sustained smoking cessation can lower risk of seropositive RA
February 21, 2019 - Thousands with chronic UTIs are not receiving the treatment they need
February 21, 2019 - Are teens getting high on social media? The surprising study seeking the pot-Instagram link
February 21, 2019 - Stanford expands biobank services | News Center
Scientists focus on epigenetics to identify factors involved in Hispanic childhood obesity

Scientists focus on epigenetics to identify factors involved in Hispanic childhood obesity

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Are there changes that affect genes and fuel a person’s propensity to develop obesity? That’s a question under study at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Associate Scientist Melanie Carless, Ph.D., is Principal Investigator of a $3 million, four-year grant from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases to research this hypothesis.

The Centers for Disease Control calls U.S. obesity an “epidemic,” with 40% of adults and 19% of children considered obese. Within children, however, there are disparities among ethnicities. Hispanic children have the highest rate of obesity at 26% compared to African American (22%), Caucasian (14%), and Asian (11%) children.

Dr. Carless and her collaborators will be studying an area of research called epigenetics – which describes changes to our DNA, RNA, or proteins that are affected by both the environment and genetic makeup and that regulate gene and protein expression. Her team will be examining a specific area of epigenetics, DNA methylation, which is capable of switching genes on and off.

“If we start at the cellular level and then look at whole organisms like the human body and how we use energy, then we can identify pathways that are involved in the development of obesity and also potentially mechanisms by which we can intervene and treat obesity,” Dr. Carless explained, “we are trying to relate changes at a person’s cellular level to the physical expression of obesity to identify mechanisms for treatment.”

The first part of the study involves a group of 900 Texas Hispanic children who have a high propensity for obesity. Scientists will combine physical data like caloric intake, physical activity, energy expenditure, metabolic rate and glucose levels with another factor measured in a blood sample called DNA methylation. Methylation is a biochemical process where methyl groups are added to DNA in a way that changes the expression of certain genes, and often the production of proteins. They will test whether methylation of specific genes is related to the physical data collected to increase risk for obesity.

In the second phase of the study, scientists will compare changes in blood with changes in muscle tissue and muscle cells and see how these changes correlate. Using blood samples, scientists will induce pluripotent stem cells (or master cells) which can be directed to develop into skeletal muscle cells for experimentation.

Part three of the study involves the use of CRISPR (a new technology to alter DNA sequences and modify gene function) to go into cells and change the methylation levels at specific sites to see what impact that has on the cells and how they might utilize energy. That information could lead to more targeted drug therapies for obesity, or someday, editing to correct an underlying issue at the DNA level.

“I think it’s really important,” Carless explained. “Obesity can be a huge factor in serious medical problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. We need to understand how obesity develops at a young age and the impact this might have on health later in life. If we can start to reduce the rates of obesity in the U.S., we will start to see a decline in multiple other disorders.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles