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Environmental obesogens

from Sonja K. Billes

Environmental obesogens, such as nicotine, arsenic, bisphenol A (BPA), organic pollutants and even stress, are another item in the litany of potential contributors to obesity and diabetes. On Saturday, several speakers shared their continuing work on identifying the mechanisms through which environmental obesogens influence obesity and related diseases. Dr. Dolinoy presented work showing that BPA exposure can have epigenetic effects leading to changes in expression of genes involved in metabolism, while Dr. Styblo showed how he is studying the relationship between arsenic exposure and diabetes.

Dr. Schug highlighted how the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is focused on identifying how exposure to environmental obesogens, especially early in life when developing systems are susceptible to permanent changes, can lead to obesity. "Exposure to a chemical as a child might lead to a life-long battle in keeping pounds off," he said. All speakers highlighted a common need to focus future research on the interaction between exposure to environmental obesogens and nutrition. more

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