London: A specific gene could explain why fat people are happier than their thinner counterparts, says a new research from McMaster University, Canada. Scientists have linked the "fat gene" with the "happy gene". "Strictly" star Lisa Riley has recently said she is a "big, really happy girl who is lucky enough to be confident in her own skin". The FTO gene is the major contributor to obesity, but it is also linked with an eight percent reduction in the risk of depression, the Daily Mail reports.
McMaster researchers investigated the genetic and psychiatric status of patients enrolled in the EpiDREAM study, led by the population Health Research Institute, and analysed 17,200 DNA samples from participants in 21 countries. Results showed those with the previously identified fat gene FTO showed significantly less signs of depression. These findings were confirmed by analysing the genetic status of patients in three additional international studies.
David Meyre, professor at McMaster, said: "We set out to follow a different path, starting from the hypothesis that both depression and obesity deal with brain activity. We hypothesised that obesity genes may be linked to depression. The difference of eight percent is modest and it won't make a big difference in the day-to-day care of patients. But we have discovered a novel molecular basis for depression."