Weight Loss Research Looking at Patient’s Genes

By the time patients reach Dr. Dmitry Nepomnayshy, many of them have tried numerous weight loss diets, pills and sometimes weight-loss surgery. They’re desperate to lose weight. Many of his patients are frustrated as they see friends, relatives and spouses have success with different weight-loss plans, but not them.

So, Dr. Nepomnayshy, a bariatric surgeon at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, has begun researching why specific weight-loss methods work for some people and not others.

“We don’t know why surgery isn’t effective for everybody,” he said. “We believe that a person’s genetics can lead to the degree of their obesity, as well as to help determine the best obesity treatment for a patient.”

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is one of the first places in the country to study the impact a person’s genetics may have when treating obesity.

“The hope is that we would be able to get to a point where a blood test can be able to tell you what, genetically, is causing your obesity and what would be the best course of treatment – whether that’s through medication, surgery or something else,” Dr. Nepomnayshy said.

This two year project could have a wide-range of ramifications for obesity.

“There’s a stigma that goes along with obesity,” Dr. Nepomnayshy said. “People think that they’re lazy, they eat poorly, they don’t work out, but that’s not necessarily the case. Maybe it’s something in their genetics that’s causing their obesity. This could go a long way in reducing that stigma.”

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