Gene Discovery Shows Even Low Body Weight Won’t Stop Type 2

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By Kathleen Blanchard RN for

Individuals with low body fat may not be protected from diabetes and heart disease, finds a new study that researchers say is “intriguing.” In an analysis from the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School (HMS), scientists found a gene, called IRS1, that is linked to lower body fat. However, the gene is also associated with higher glucose and cholesterol levels, putting individuals with low body weight at risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Men especially at risk for diabetes from IRS1 gene
Douglas P. Kiel, M.D., M.P.H., a senior scientist at the Institute for Aging Research and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School said. “People, particularly men, with a specific form of the gene are both more likely to have lower percent body fat, but also to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In simple terms, it is not only overweight individuals who can be predisposed for these metabolic diseases.”

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