More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, and some of these individuals undergo gastric bypass surgery to shed the extra pounds. A genome-wide association study published by Cell Press May 2nd in The American Journal of Human Genetics reveals that the amount of weight loss after this surgery can be predicted in part by a DNA sequence variation found on chromosome 15. The findings explain why the success of gastric bypass surgery varies so widely and could help clinicians identify those who would benefit the most from this type of surgery.
"Surgery is the most effective therapy for severe obesity, but these procedures are invasive, and not all patients get the same degree of benefit," says senior study author Lee Kaplan of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "If we can identify those patients who are likely to lose more weight after surgery from those who do less well, we could help steer patients towards the therapy that best suits them."