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Study: Genetic Obesity May Prevent Depression

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File photo of an obese person. (Photo by VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/GettyImages)

File photo of an obese person. (Photo by VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/GettyImages)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – New genetic research has found that the genes thought to be contributing factors to obesity could have one benefit for the people carrying them – by acting as an inhibitor to genes that may cause depression.

CBC News is reporting that researchers at McMaster University in Ontario discovered this potential effect of obesity genes while examining the general relationship between them and depression.

The relationship also brought to light the existence of genetics that were reportedly thought to not exist, according to David Meyre, who was involved with the study.

“We found the first gene predisposing to depression with consistent results,” Meyre, who is both an associate professor in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University as well as a Canada Research Chair in genetic epidemiology, was quoted as saying by the news service.

Before now, most doctors and scientists thought the only relationship between obesity and depression involved the former inducing the latter. Symptoms of obesity, including self-esteem issues, poor diet and a lack of regular physical activity, are generally thought to be contributors to depression.

The genetic discoveries of the team at McMaster University could allegedly change how the medical world views the effects of obesity on depression.

“This suggests that the FTO gene [an enzyme thought to be related to fat mass and obesity] may have a broader role than initially thought with an effect on depression and other common psychiatric disorders,” the researchers reportedly added in the study.

These findings could affect a large portion of the American populace. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, more than one third of adults in the United States are obese.

A total of 6,591 people with depression participated in the study of FTO gene mutations, as well as 21,000 others who did not suffer from depression, CBC News additionally learned.

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