Obesity, once fixable with diet and exercise rehabilitation, has now become an epidemic, affecting 2 billion people globally. The United State alone has a long history of obesity (1 in 3 adults are overweight).
The question is; is it the accessible junk food, lifestyle, and stress only contributing to obesity or there is more to the story?
To answer this, research was conducted in which it was revealed that the molecular mechanism of brain development during early stages in life has a role to play in obesity risk. This information may change the way we approach obesity treatment to prevention.
Diving Deep inside the Brain
This study stressed, the part of the brain, which is responsible for our food intake, metabolism, and physical activity. This region is known as the Arcuate Nucleus of the hypothalamus. Further observation revealed that this part undergoes rapid epigenetic maturation during early postnatal life. This specific period is sensitive to the developmental programming of body weight regulation. This led to the conclusion that these effects could be a consequence of dysregulated epigenetic maturation.
A similar set of data was collected from a mice model which was then compared with the human data. Surprisingly the genomic region that carried the information for epigenetic maturation in mice overlapped with that of the human genomic region associated with Body Mass Index. This association confirmed the fact that obesity risk in humans is determined by the epigenetic development in the arcuate nucleus.