On this #OMFScienceWednesday, let’s talk about an exciting new study from Dr. Mike Snyder, Chair of Genetics at Stanford University. Dr. Snyder’s team performed a big data study – using the very same genomics technologies his team is applying to ME / CFS in collaboration with Dr. Ron Davis, with funding from OMF – to understand how our bodies react to weight gain and weight loss at the molecular level. The results were surprising!
Dr. Snyder’s team found that even modest weight gain (5 lb or so) could cause some pretty dramatic molecular changes, including markers of inflammation, changes in the gut microbiome, and the activation of genes involved in heart disease. These observations suggest a molecular explanation for the connection between weight gain and heart disease. But there’s also good news: these molecular effects were almost entirely reversed following weight loss.
What’s important to note is that Dr. Snyder applied these technologies to monitor individuals as they were first gaining and then losing weight. This ‘longitudinal’ approach of sampling individuals at multiple timepoints is far more powerful than comparing groups of individuals sampled at a single timepoint: the molecular variations across individuals are accounted for, because each person is their own control. This is also an approach that Dr. Snyder’s team will be applying to ME / CFS as patients improve or worsen, and they are hopeful that it will help to overcome the difficulties of studying a disease with so much variation.
Read more about Dr. Snyder’s weight fluctuation study on The Scientist.
Stay tuned for an upcoming video update from Dr. Snyder, where he discusses in detail how his team is applying these cutting-edge approaches to understand ME / CFS and where he expects this research to lead.
To keep up with our weekly #OMFScienceWednesday posts, be sure to like our Facebook page!