Gut Bacteria in Inflammation and Obesity

Obesity increases the risk of many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. There is evidence that there may be a link between obesity and inflammation (irritation) in the body and the kinds of bacteria found in the gut. The goal of this study was to better understand how body weight in adults and the composition of their gut bacteria interact, and what role genetics and environment may play in this interaction.  A twin study was done because it is the ideal way to study how genetics and the environment contribute to a condition.

Only twins who had previously participated in an earlier twin study of inflammation and obesity were invited to participate in this study. All study activities were done at home. Each twin received a package with study materials. This included a questionnaire which asked questions about childhood disease, antibiotic use, diet, and other factors that might affect the kinds of bacteria in a person’s gut. It also included a kit for collection of a stool sample, and materials needed for discreet shipping of the samples to the laboratory.

Data collected in this study are still being analyzed.