PORTLAND — Maine Medical Center has received $1.3 million from the National Institutes of Health to study how changes in a specific gene affect obesity.

Maine Medical Center Research Institute faculty scientist Robert Koza has found that animals are less likely to become obese on a high-fat diet when the gene is not expressed or expressed only at low levels.  This study aims to answer the function of gene in the body and the precise processes that regulate its expression.

“Years from now, these studies may also define new early interventions doctors could take to help patients prevent the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes,” Koza said.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed Maine as having a diabetes rate of 8.5 percent and an obesity rate of 30 percent, the highest in New England.


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