Researchers find ‘happy gene’ linked to happiness and obesity
ONTARIOResearchers at McMaster University have discovered new genetic evidence about why some people are happier than others, Science Daily has reported.
McMaster scientists have uncovered evidence that the gene FTO, the major genetic contributor to obesity, is associated with an eight percent reduction in the risk of depression. In other words, it’s not just an obesity gene but a “happy gene” as well. “The difference of eight per cent is modest and it won’t make a big difference in the day-to-day care of patients,” senior author David Meyre said. “But, we have discovered a novel molecular basis for depression.”
The McMaster discovery challenges the common perception of a reciprocal link between depression and obesity: That obese people become depressed because of their appearance and social and economic discrimination; depressed individuals may lead less active lifestyles and change eating habits to cope with depression that causes them to become obese.
“We set out to follow a different path, starting from the hypothesis that both depression and obesity deal with brain activity. We hypothesized that obesity genes may be linked to depression,” Meyre said.