(WHTM) — Researchers with Geisinger helped discover a rare gene they say protects people from obesity.
Geisinger worked with a genetics center studied more than 600,000 people for two years. They identified a gene they say is critical in determining a person’s weight and body mass.
The gene was found in one out of every 3,000 patients, making it very rare. People with the gene, however, have a 54% lower risk of becoming obese.
“The idea is that if we can mimic that same kind of reduced activity of the gene in other people, we believe that would be a way to treat obesity and weight gain,” Tooraj Mirshahi, Geisinger obesity research institute, said.
The next step for researchers is determining who is most likely to carry the gene. They do not know yet whether it is hereditary or if it favors one sex over the other.