Sunday, April 25, 2010

Genetics 'not to blame for obese kids'

This claim runs against a lot of other evidence. There are plenty of sex-linked genes and the findings below may simply indicate that some genes responsible for obesity are among them

CHILDREN become obese because of the influence of their same-sex parent, not as a result of genetics, a new study by British scientists claims.

Scientists from Peninsula Medical School at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth say if a young girl has an overweight mother she is more likely to become obese, with the same applying to boys and their fathers. The findings suggest that it is behavioural rather than genetic factors that have a greater influence in determining whether children become obese.

According to the study of 226 British families, the scientists found that obese mums were 10 times more likely to have obese daughters. Obese dads were also six times more likely to have an obese son.

However, the same trend did not exist between mums and their sons and fathers and daughters.

"Any genetic link between obese parents and their children would be indiscriminate of gender," the study's director Professor Terry Wilkin said. "The clearly defined gender-assortative pattern which our research has uncovered is an exciting one because it points towards behavioural factors at work in childhood obesity."

Prof Wilkin said the findings could dramatically affect government policies on dealing with childhood obesity and its current focus on an apparent genetic link.

"Money and resources have focused on children over the past decade in the belief that obese children become obese adults and that prevention of obesity in children will solve the problem in adulthood," he said.

"(The study's) evidence supports the opposite hypothesis - that children are becoming obese due to the influence of their same-sex parents and that we will need to focus on changing the behaviour of the adult if we want to combat obesity in the child."


British watchdog under fire as number of IVF blunders soars

The HFEA are just bureaucratic animals. They were too busy trying to "get" Britain's most successful IVF doctor -- Taranissi. They hated him because his was a private clinic and they did their damnedest to close him down -- with help from the BBC. But he eventually beat them in the courts and they finally gave up their attack on him in Sept., 2008. The BBC paid him nearly a million for libelling him in June last year. Doing anything useful is beyond the HFEA. It would be interesting to know how many of the errors below were made at government hospitals. Most of them, I'm betting

The number of blunders made at IVF clinics has nearly doubled in the past 12 months. The serious mistakes, which affect couples desperate for children, include cases where embryos have been lost or placed in the wrong woman, or incidents where eggs have been fertilised with the wrong sperm.

Figures released by the IVF watchdog reveal the number of reported incidents increased from 182 in 2007-08 to 334 in 2008-09, prompting calls for it to get tougher on failing units.

The figures do not show which fertility clinics were the worst-performing, but include centres throughout England and Wales where 50,000 IVF procedures took place in the past year.

A leading embryologist said the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was not adequately enforcing the rules on fertility treatment.

Sammy Lee, from University College London, said: ‘I think the key failure of the HFEA is that when they ask clinics to put in special procedures, they’re not enforcing them. ‘It’s important that when you’ve identified a weakness in a procedure, you quickly enforce it, and don’t wait a year to do so.’

The figures include all reported incidents and near misses to the HFEA during 2008-09. Examples include fridges containing eggs being switched off accidentally, or consent forms not being signed by two clinicians, which is against the rules.

The blunders are revealed on Donal MacIntyre’s BBC Radio 5 Live show tonight.

The programme features an interview with one woman, identified only as Clare, who was told by clinicians at the University of Wales IVF clinic in Cardiff that two of her remaining three embryos created during her first cycle of fertility treatment had been ‘lost’.

She says the only explanation staff could offer was that they may have ‘slipped off the straw’ during the freezing process.

Clare, who had been trying for a baby for seven years with her partner Gareth before beginning treatment at the clinic in 2008, said: ‘I was waiting to go in and have a transfer and they said I only had one embryo remaining – the other two had gone missing. Those were two potential babies.’

The clinic said it would not comment on individual cases but its overall rate of frozen embryo recovery was ‘high’ by international standards.

Lawyer Guy Forster, who is representing Clare and who has dealt with similar cases in the UK in the past year, called the situation ‘deeply disturbing’.

The HFEA said it did not accept it needed reform. A spokesman said: ‘In embryology, as in all areas of clinical care, it is not possible to guarantee 100 per cent success.’


1 comment:

John A said...

I fear I do not know enough to argue either side of the obesity-gene business, but this -

"Any genetic link between obese parents and their children would be indiscriminate of gender,"

is horrifying stupid. A researcher who has never heard of color-blindness or dozens of other gender-linked genetic problems? I hope this has been taken out of context, but fear it has not.