Thursday, February 14, 2019
Doctor’s Perspective
Gene linked to obesity
By Dr. Anthony Policastro
We all know people who eat all they want and never gain weight. Most of us just smell calories and seem to pile on the weight. We chalk it up to metabolism differences. A new study suggests a genetic reason for this - a gene called the ingrain beta 7 gene. The study was done in mice, however, this gene is also found in humans. Some people have this gene and some do not. In the study they compared mice with the gene to mice without the gene. Those with the gene use it to convert calories into fat. That way the fat storage can be used at a later time when calories are less available. Those without the gene ate as much as the mice with the gene but they never got fat. They had a problem storing the extra calories for future use. What is more important is that the mice with the gene not only got fatter. They also had issues with obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol. They also had issues with sugar that is similar to what happens in humans with Type 2 diabetes and issues with developing atherosclerotic plaques in their arteries. These are all bad things. So why does this gene even exist? The answer is simple. Evolution. Our ancient ancestors had periods when there was a lot of food and periods when there was not as much food. Someone who could store fat better was more likely to survive. If they did so, they passed on the gene to their descendants. It is a classic example of what Darwin called survival of the fittest. Now many years later, we have a different food supply chain. It is more consistent. The result is that this kind of gene leads to things like obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. All of these things are bad for us. The result might be that the survival of the fittest in the future will be those individuals who do not have this gene. We no longer require a body that needs to deal with food shortages. The hope of the scientists who made this discovery is that perhaps we can use it. The next step would be to find a way to block that gene from acting. Then the question is could that stop all the complications that the gene currently causes? If so, there might be a way to treat the underlying issue which would prevent the need to later treat obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. We might be able to change the future evolution of the human race. So the next time you see someone who eats all they want and does not gain weight, you have an answer. They are integral beta 7 deficient. There is a term to add to your vocabulary.

"Living Beyond Cancer' series

The Cancer Support Community-DE is presenting an ongoing Survivorship Series called Living Beyond Cancer. This series will explore a variety of topics to help anyone whose life is touched by cancer learn how they can live their best life possible. Other topics include nutrition, exercise, stress release, and medical management. On Thursday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. Cancer Support Community will offer Living Beyond Cancer: Emotional Support at the Cancer Support Community's Sussex County Facility in Rehoboth. Register in advance by calling 645-9150. There is no charge to participate. To learn more about the Cancer Support Community, visit

Nanticoke Weight Loss and surgery groups Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery hosts free bariatric support groups three times a month at the Nanticoke Training Center located within the Miller Building at 121 S. Front Street in Seaford. Support group meetings consist of guest speakers and presentations to provide useful information about nutrition, supplements, exercise and behavior modifications. Patients and their spouses, family members or friends are welcome to attend. Registration is not required.
  • The general bariatric support group is open to all bariatric patients before and after their surgery and is held monthly the first Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and the fourth Monday from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • The post-op bariatric support group is designed for post-op bariatric patients and is held on the second Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m.
For more information about these support groups or other services provided by Nanticoke Weight Loss & General Surgery, visit or call 302-536-5395.

Weekly caregiver support group A cancer diagnosis not only affects the diagnosed person but their family and friends as well. Join Louise White, LCSW, as she addresses the issues surrounding the important role of caregiver. Louise will help make sense of the turmoil and learn practical ways of coping. A weekly Caregiver Support Group is offered at the Cancer Support Community Delaware in Rehoboth Beach on Thursdays at 1 p.m. This program coincides with the program for the Cancer Support Group, which is available for people currently affected by cancer. Call 302-645-9150 to register and for more information. All programs at Cancer Support Community are offered free of charge to people with cancer and their loved ones.