How does your genetics affect your weight and can drugs help? | Insights from Giles Yeo

How does your genetics affect your weight and can drugs help?

We were able to have a chat with Giles Yeo, who researches the genetics of body weight, looking at how the brain influences of eating behaviour to find out more.

Our brains make decisions on whether or not we should eat from hormone signals which tell it how much fat we currently have stored and what we have recently eaten. But these signals are not quite that simple, for example there are over 20 hormones released by the gut when we eat, most of which tell the brain when we have had enough.

One of those hormones is called GLP1 and it doesn’t last very long in the body, just a few minutes, so if you can extend the time the hormone is around then it can tell your brain that you feel full and you stop eating. Originally GLP1-like drugs were developed to treat Type-2 diabetes as it also triggers insulin production.

Giles is going to explore the use of this drug in obesity and some of the questions that constantly come up including:

  • Should we treat obesity?
  • Why don’t we treat using changes in behaviour e.g. promoting healthy eating and exercise?
  • If you stop taking the drug, won’t the weight come back?

Giles will be discussing his talk “Are the new class of GLP1 anti-obesity medications a panacea?” at the ELRIG’s Pint of Science event in Cambridge on 13th May.

Join us at the Grain & Hop from 6:30pm to find out more. The talk will begin at 7pm.

More about Giles Yeo

Giles Yeo got his PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Cambridge in 1998, after which he joined the lab of Prof Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, working on the genetics of severe human obesity. Giles Yeo is now a Professor of Molecular Neuroendocrinology and programme leader at the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit in Cambridge and his research currently focuses on the influence of genes on feeding behaviour & body-weight. In addition, he is a fellow of Wolfson College, and Honorary President of the British Dietetic Association. Giles is also a broadcaster and author, presenting science documentaries for the BBC, and hosts a podcast called ‘Dr Giles Yeo Chews The Fat’. His first book ‘Gene Eating’ was published in December 2018, and his second book ‘Why Calories Don’t Count’ came out in June 2021. Giles was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 birthday honours for services to ‘Research, Communication and Engagement’. He won the Society for Endocrinology Medal in 2022.