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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

East Tennessee Studies Possible Genetic Link between Alcohol Dependence and Obesity

In December, Dr. Kesheng Wang, Associate Professor in the ETSU’s College of Public Health Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, published an article  studying a possible genetic link between alcohol dependence and obesity.  Dr. Wang and his colleagues studied the Copine V (CPNE5) gene which is involved with calcium binding and which may play an important role in the development of the central nervous system.

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[Photo: Dr. Kesheng Wang]

The article, which Dr. Wang authored with four other researchers, included analyses of data from over 1,000 Caucasian individuals with a lifetime history of alcohol dependence.  The researchers’ findings provide the first evidence of common genetic variants that may influence both alcohol dependence and obesity.

The study, “Genetic variants in the CPNE5 gene are associated with alcohol dependence and obesity in Caucasian populations,” was published by The Journal of Psychiatric Research in December of 2015.

According to Dr. Wang, the World Health Organization reports that alcohol consumption is the third leading risk factor globally for disease burden, leading to about 2.5 million deaths worldwide every year.  Absolute numbers of obese individuals are projected to surpass 1.12 billion globally by 2030, Dr. Wang states.  “The findings of this study provide evidence for the utility of potential joint intervention and prevention efforts among patients with alcohol dependence and obesity.”

Dr. Wang’s research interests include biostatistics, chronic disease and social-behavioral epidemiology, genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics.

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