Expert Analysis:
Genetics & Health

December 3, 2015

Male body weight linked to epigenetic effects in sperm

Differences between the epigenetic marks found in the sperm of lean and obese men have been observed in a small study. The differences found by the researchers were in genes associated with appetite, leading them to suggest their findings provide a possible explanation for why obese fathers produce children who are predisposed to obesity. Continue reading

September 28, 2015

New genetic links found to heavy smoking and lung disease

Researchers have found five new genetic variants associated with heavy smoking and six new variants associated with lung health and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), by using over 50,000 samples from the UK Biobank. Continue reading

August 31, 2015

Researchers conclude rare neurodegenerative disease MSA is transmissible, caused by infectious proteins

An infectious protein, or prion, is the underlying cause of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disease similar to Parkinson’s, making it transmissible, conclude the authors of a study in PNAS. Continue reading

August 25, 2015

Strengthening evidence that low levels of vitamin D may increase multiple sclerosis risk

Genetic variants linked to low vitamin D levels were strongly associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published in PLoS Medicine. Continue reading

July 15, 2015

Stem cells offer alternative approach to develop therapies for inherited mitochondrial disorders

Genetically corrected pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with inherited mitochondrial disorders offer a new approach to developing therapies for these incurable diseases, according to a study published in Nature Continue reading

June 23, 2015

Potential epigenetic link between childhood asthma and fiber intake during pregnancy

Researchers have identified an epigenetic mechanism by which fiber in the diet of pregnant mice has a protective effect against the development of asthma in their offspring. A survey of 40 pregnant women also found that increased dietary fiber was associated with fewer visits to the doctor for respiratory problems during the first year of their child’s infancy. Continue reading

June 8, 2015

Genetic risk for schizophrenia or bipolar predicts likelihood of being a creative professional

Genetic risk scores for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder could predict both psychiatric disorders and membership of artistic societies, according to a study in Nature Neuroscience the leading authors to suggest that genetic variants that increase the risk for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder also influence creativity. Continue reading

April 21, 2015

Encouraging results in search for prevention to type 1 diabetes in children

The results of a small pilot study may hold promise in the search for a prevention to type 1 diabetes. Children with a high genetic risk displayed an immune response to high doses of oral insulin, which might potentially be used to pre-empt the autoimmune response underlying type 1 diabetes. Continue reading

April 9, 2015

Do genes impact eating disorders? Mutation creates anorexia-like behavior in mice

A study sheds some light on the question of what role genes might play in eating disorders by reporting that mice bred to lack a specific gene displayed behavioral abnormalities similar to those seen in people with anorexia nervosa. Continue reading

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