A study discovered that people who have a gene linked with obesity may have a slightly lower risk of depression. Previous studies of families have found 40 percent of the risk of depression comes from genetics, the researchers said.
As CBC News writes, in Monday’s issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry, David Meyre, an associate professor in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster and a Canada Research Chair in genetic epidemiology, and his co-authors reported that “a variant of the FTO gene may be associated with a lower risk of depression independent of the gene’s effect on obesity.” The researchers said the “findings challenge the idea that obesity and depression are generally linked. Some have suggested that obese people become depressed because of their appearance and discrimination, while people with depression may become less active and change their eating habits to cope with their illness,” according to LiveScience.
Researchers analyzed FTO gene mutations in 6,591 people with depression in standard screening and more than 21,000 others who weren’t diagnosed with depression. What’s next? Studying the 59 other known genes associated with obesity and using the same approach for other diseases like Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity, CBC notes. According to a 2009 paper titled The Stigma of Obesity: A Review and Update, discrimination against the obese has risen by 66 per cent in the past decade, and is comparable to race discrimination, especially in women, Yahoo News writes.