We would like to keep our patients, families and professionals up to date with the latest developments in our research.
We may sometimes highlight particular “news reports” that may appear in the media, as there may be general points that are worth emphasising or challenging.
New paper shows that oxytocin modulates how our brain responds to food pictures.
Often referred to as the "love hormone", oxytocin is a small neuropeptide made in the hypothalamus of our brains and released by the pituitary that is important for social bonding, feelings of empathy, and during childbirth and breastfeeding. We became interested in this hormone following recent studies in animals showing that oxytocin may also have effects on appetite and body weight. In our study, we wanted to know whether oxytocin affects appetite and whether the human brain response to food cues changes after administration of oxytocin.
New paper shows rare variants in multiple genes associated with severe obesity
To date, mutations in 15 genes are known to cause obesity which usually starts in childhood. In a study just published in the journal Scientific Reports, we worked with Ines Barroso's team at the Sanger Institute to look at a large number of genes in over 4000 children with severe obesity from the GOOS cohort. The methods we used allowed us to look at all the genes at the same time, so we could get a comprehensive picture of the frequency of each disorder.
New Translational Research Facilities (TRF)
The beginning of May saw the opening of our brand new state-of-the-art Translational Research Facility dedicated to research in Obesity and Metabolic diseases. Building on our clinical research in obesity and the work of other colleagues in the Institute on insulin resistance, lipodystrophy and thyroid disease, we were able to secure funding from the Wellcome Trust to establish new Translational Research Facilities (TRF). Our vision is that with the increased space dedicated to Metabolism and with highly skilled staff, the TRF will support delivery of a portfolio of world-leading experimental medicine research. We will work to pull through basic science research in genetics and neuroscience, so that we can ultimately translate our findings into therapeutic interventions. The TRF includes space for 8 people to stay for research studies at any time and provides access to state-of-the-art equipment, which will allow us to expand the scope and reach of our clinical research, bringing in new partners and collaborators. Our aim is to recruit the best people to work in this important area and train the next generation of researchers who will drive the field forward.
Over the last few years, the GOOS team have been running a study named STILTS (Study Into Lean and Thin Subjects). The aim is to study people who are healthy and thin to find the genes that might protect them from gaining weight, or that might allow them to burn extra calories easily. Understanding the genes for thinness could pave the way for new treatments for obesity.
A new website for the study has just gone live - you can find it at www.stilts.org.uk.
Spring Newsletter Out Now
Our Spring newsletter is out now. You can read it online by visiting our Newsletters page, or subscribe by email to have it sent to you.
Obesity Prejudice in the NHS
A recent BBC TV programme hosted by Professor Rachel Batterham, a world leading expert in obesity at University College, London, highlighted the problems associated with obesity prejudice in the NHS.
Endocrine Society Guidelines for Childhood Obesity
The Endocrine Society have just issued their new Clinical Practice Guidelines advising healthcare professionals on how to assess, prevent and treat childhood obesity.
The guidelines, entitled "Pediatric Obesity-Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline" will appear in the March 2017 print issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM). In addition to prevention and treatment, the guideline provides recommendations on how to evaluate affected children for medical or psychological complications, when to evaluate children for rare genetic causes of obesity and when to consider medications or surgery for the most severely affected older adolescents.
The Life Scientific
Professor Farooqi spoke to Jim Al-Khalili on BBC Radio Four's The Life Scientific. Professor Al-Khalili talks to a different leading scientist each week to find out more about their life and work, and what their research might do for us all. You can hear his interview with Professor Farooqi here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08b7vyg/.
Happy New Year
Professor Farooqi and the GOOS team would like to wish all of our many collaborators, colleagues, patients and their families a very Happy New Year.
Winter Newsletter Out Now
Our Winter newsletter is out now. You can read it online by visiting our Newsletters page, or subscribe to have it sent to you by email.
Keynote Lecture - Obesity Week
Professor Farooqi gave the Keynote Lecture at Obesity Week which took place in New Orleans, USA in the first week of November. This American meeting brought together Healthcare professionals who care for people with weight problems and Surgeons who perform bariatric surgery. Alongside clinical professionals, researchers who work in related areas also attended the meeting. Some of the topics covered were how pathways in the brain control weight, why some treatments (including surgery) are effective for some people but not others, and how to design effective public health policies.
PhD Thesis Award
Edson Mendes de Oliveira, a Research Associate with our team, has recently heard that his PhD thesis was awarded an "Honorable Mention in the CAPES Thesis Award 2016".
Important new paper: Why do some people prefer fatty foods?
Most people find high fat, high sugar foods particularly appetising. This can lead to eating more calories than we need and can contribute to weight gain. But what influences food choice? The taste, appearance, smell and texture of food are all important, but do genes play an important role?
A major International Congress of Endocrinology took place in Beijing, China in the first week of September. This was a meeting involving thousands of doctors and scientists working on hormone problems and weight problems. Professor Farooqi gave one of the Plenary Lectures at this prestigious meeting, focusing on our work in obesity. This was a great opportunity to share our work and ideas for future collaborations with a large audience, many of whom have not considered genetic causes of obesity before.
Summer Newsletter Out Now
Our Summer newsletter is out now. You can read it online by visiting our Newsletters page, or subscribe by email to have it sent to you.
EMBO Long-Term Fellowship
Bas Brouwers, a Research Associate who recently joined our team after his PhD training at the KU Leuven, has been successful in his application for an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship. This is a prestigious and competitive award that will fund his postdoctoral work on the molecular and physiological pathways that regulate body weight.
Healthcare Professionals Leaflet
Our leaflet for healthcare professionals is now available (click here to read 'Genetic Causes of Severe Obesity: What Does This Mean?'). It aims to answer some of the questions a healthcare professional may face when supporting and caring for patients/families with a possible genetic cause for their severe obesity.
Speech - Trinity Hall Cambridge
Jacek Mokrosinski, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Professor Farooqi's group gave a talk at Trinity Hall, the fifth oldest college in Cambridge (founded in 1350). The audience were postdoctoral scientists and graduate students of the College, attending the inauguration of the Trinity Hall postdoctoral seminar series.
Stem Cell Research
One of the challenges when studying genes that cause weight problems has been to find a way to unravel their function by using research in the laboratory. This can often involve working with cells that behave in a way that mirrors or models how real cells work in the body. Stem cells have the ability to grow into different types of cells (heart, kidney, brain cells) in the laboratory and so can be used to study and perhaps in the future, to treat, a variety of medical conditions.