The Thin Fat Indian

Helen Hobbs addressing cholesterol and fatty acids

You must have seen a lot of people who are thin and are fit, there comes the phrase ‘the thin-fat Indian’, who are physically thin but are metabolically fit’. The secret behind their fitness must be work which leads to exercises and of course healthy eating.

We can get to hear numerous such phrases from inspiring speeches. One of these is brought about by TNQ (a global publishing technology and services company), where they introduce internationally eminent scientists to interact with the scientific community of India. This year on February 15, distinguished speaker, Helen Hobbs spoke on the topic “Genetic Disorders of Dietary Excess: Getting to the Heart of the Matter”, held at AICTE auditorium, New Delhi. This was also held in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.  

Helen Hobbs is a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She made it clear that diet plays a great role in maintaining health and to control certain diseases like heart diseases, atherosclerosis and fatty liver diseases (later two is the result of the accumulation of lipids in wrong places).

She briefly explained multiple factors including genetic factors for the cause of fatty liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. The organs affected can be revert back to its normal function by maintaining health and proper diet from an early stage.

Her research was based on the findings where people with hypomorphic (partial loss of gene function) PCSK9 (Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9) mutations had lower LDL-cholesterol levels. These people were almost immune to heart disease. This finding led to the development of a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that mimic the effects of the PCSK9 mutations.

Thus, the most important take-home message from this lecture is a big “no-no” to french fries and burgers every day.

Article by Moumita Mazumdar and M R Raghul

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