Tag Archives: genetic factors

Scientists ID Genetic Factors that Influence Body Weight and Neurological Disorders

Berkeley Lab researchers study mice to shed light on genetic risks of Alzheimer’s, other diseases

Many neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, are marked by impaired motor skills. In addition, growing evidence suggests there’s a link between some neurodegenerative diseases and body weight. A recent NIH study, for example, found that adults who are obese or overweight at midlife may be at risk for earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)

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Time adds a wrinkle to nature and nurture

Nature and nurture have found a new companion — historical context.

A new study has produced the best evidence yet that the role of genetics in complex traits, including obesity, varies over time. Both the era in which scientific research is conducted and the era in which subjects were born may have an impact on the degree to which genetic factors are present in scientific data. (more…)

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Who’s Afraid of Math? Study Finds Some Genetic Factors

Genetics plays a role, but researchers say environment still key

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study of math anxiety shows how some people may be at greater risk to fear math not only because of negative experiences, but also because of genetic risks related to both general anxiety and math skills.

The study, which examined how fraternal and identical twins differ on measures of math anxiety, provides a revised view on why some children – and adults – may develop a fear of math that makes it more difficult for them to solve math problems and succeed in school. (more…)

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Genomic Detectives Crack the Case of the Missing Heritability

Despite years of research, the genetic factors behind many human diseases and characteristics remain unknown. The inability to find the complete genetic causes of family traits such as height or the risk of type 2 diabetes has been called the “missing heritability” problem.

A new study by Princeton University researchers, however, suggests that missing heritability may not be missing after all — at least not in yeast cells, which the researchers used as a model for studying the problem. Published in the journal Nature, the results suggest that heritability in humans may be hidden due only to the limitations of modern research tools, but could be discovered if scientists know where (and how) to look. (more…)

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Public Obsession with Obesity May be More Dangerous than Obesity Itself, UCLA Author Says

Much has been made about who or what is to blame for the “obesity epidemic” and what can or should be done to stem the tide of rising body mass among the U.S. population.

A new book by a UCLA sociologist turns these concerns on their head by asking two questions. First, how and why has fatness been medicalized as “obesity” in the first place? Second, what are the social costs of this particular way of discussing body size? (more…)

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Sperm Length Variation is not a Good Sign

A new study published online in the journal Human Reproduction finds that the greater the inconsistency in the length of sperm, particularly in the tail (flagellum), the lower the concentration of sperm that can swim well. The finding offers fertility clinicians a potential new marker for fertility trouble that might trace back to how a patient’s sperm are being made.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Perhaps variety is the very spice of life, but as a matter of producing human life, it could be the bane of existence. That’s the indication of a new study in the journal Human Reproduction that found men with wider variation in sperm length, particularly in the flagellum, had lower concentrations of sperm that could swim well. Those with more consistently made sperm seemed to have more capable ones.

“Our study reveals that men who produce higher concentrations of competent swimming sperm also demonstrate less variation in the size and shape of those sperm,” said Jim Mossman, a postdoctoral scholar at Brown University and lead author of the paper published in advance online Oct. 28. “It suggests that in some cases, testes are working more optimally to produce high numbers of consistently manufactured sperm, and vice versa.” (more…)

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Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child?

Grabbing a child firmly by the arm, yelling and repeatedly punishing him or her may not be without long-terms risks, according to researchers from the Université de Montréal. They are studying how this harsh parenting can impair the emotional development of a child, possibly leading to anxiety disorders such as social phobia, separation anxiety and panic attacks.

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