Epigenome-Wide Association Study of Systemic Effects of Obesity Susceptibility in Human Twins

The current study was designed to use an epigenome-wide association approach (EWAS) to identify potential systemic DNA methylation alterations that are associated with obesity using 22 discordant twin pairs. Buccal cells (from a cheek swab) were used as a non-obesity relevant purified marker cell for the epigenetic analysis. Analysis of differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs) […]

Positive lifestyle behaviours and emotional health factors are associated with low back pain resilience

Purpose: To evaluate the relationship between lifestyle behaviours, emotional health factors, and low back pain (LBP) resilience. Methods: This retrospective longitudinal study utilised 1,065 twins with a recent history of LBP from the Washington State Twin Registry. A lifestyle behaviour score was built using variables of body mass index, physical activity engagement, sleep quality, smoking […]

The pillars of health: influence of multiple lifestyle behaviors on body mass index and depressive symptoms in adult twins

Background: Guidelines promoting healthy lifestyles are cornerstones of chronic disease prevention and treatment. The purpose of this study is to investigate independent and joint associations of five key health behaviors with health outcomes (body mass index (BMI kg/m2) and depressive symptoms) in adult twins. Methods: We included 6,048 twin pairs from a community-based registry. Five […]

Reassessing relationships between appetite and adiposity in people at risk of obesity: a twin study using fMRI

Background: Neuroimaging studies suggest that appetitive drive is enhanced in obesity. Objective: To test if appetitive drive varies in direct proportion to the level of body adiposity after accounting for genetic factors that contribute to both brain response and obesity risk. Subjects/Methods: Participants were adult monozygotic (n=54) and dizygotic (n=30) twins with at least one […]

FTO genotype impacts food intake and corticolimbic activation

Background: Variants in the first intron of the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene increase obesity risk. People with “high-risk” FTO genotypes exhibit preference for high-fat foods, reduced satiety responsiveness, and greater food intake consistent with impaired satiety. Objective: We sought central nervous system mechanisms that might underlie impaired satiety perception in people with a higher risk […]

What Twin Studies Tell Us About Brain Responses to Food Cues

Purpose of review: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) using visual food cues provides insight into brain regulation of appetite in humans. This review sought evidence for genetic determinants of these responses. Recent findings: Echoing behavioral studies of food cue responsiveness, twin study approaches detect significant inherited influences on brain response to food cues. Both polygenic (whole genome) […]

Does the sex of one’s co-twin affect height and BMI in adulthood? A study of dizygotic adult twins from 31 cohorts

Background: The comparison of traits in twins from opposite-sex (OS) and same-sex (SS) dizygotic twin pairs is considered a proxy measure of prenatal hormone exposure. To examine possible prenatal hormonal influences on anthropometric traits, we compared mean height, body mass index (BMI), and the prevalence of being overweight or obese between men and women from OS […]

Effects of Anxiety on Caloric Intake and Satiety-Related Brain Activation in Women and Men

Objective: To test the relationship of anxiety to caloric intake and food cue perception in women and men. Methods: Fifty-five twins (26 complete, 3 incomplete pairs; 51% women) underwent 2 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans (before and after a standardized meal) and then ate at an ad libitum buffet to objectively assess food intake. State and […]

In adult twins, visceral fat accumulation depends more on exceeding sex-specific adiposity thresholds than on genetics

Objective: We recently reported sex-specific percent body fat (%BF) thresholds (males=23%, females=38%) above which, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) significantly increases. Using monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, we examined the influence of genetics on regional fat distribution measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, above and below these sex-specific thresholds for VAT accumulation. Methods: Fifty-eight twin pairs (44 MZ, […]

Associations Between Fast-Food Consumption and Body Mass Index: A Cross-Sectional Study in Adult Twins

Obesity is a substantial health problem in the United States, and is associated with many chronic diseases. Previous studies have linked poor dietary habits to obesity. This cross-sectional study aimed to identify the association between body mass index (BMI) and fast-food consumption among 669 same-sex adult twin pairs residing in the Puget Sound region around […]

Depression and obesity: Do shared genes explain the relationship?

Background: Studies have found a modest association between depression and obesity, especially in women. Given the substantial genetic contribution to both depression and obesity, we sought to determine whether shared genetic influences are responsible for the association between these two conditions. Methods: Data were obtained from 712 monozygotic and 281 dizygotic female twin pairs who are members […]

Chronic pain, overweight, and obesity: Findings from a community-based twin registry

Chronic pain and obesity, and their associated impairments, are major health concerns. We estimated the association of overweight and obesity with 5 distinct pain conditions and 3 pain symptoms, and examined whether familial influences explained these relationships. We used data collected from 3,471 twins in the community-based University of Washington Twin Registry. Twins reported sociodemographic data, […]

Genetic and environmental influences on insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and obesity in twins

Study objectives: To better understand the relationships of insomnia, sleepiness, and obesity. Design: Classic twin study. Setting: A community-based twin registry in Washington State. Patients or participants: One thousand forty-two monozygotic and 828 dizygotic twin pairs participating in the University of Washington Twin Registry. Interventions: N/A. Measurements and results: Twins were, on average, 32 years old; 61% were women, and 19.5% […]

Genetic pleiotropy between asthma and obesity in a community-based sample of twins

Background: Asthma and obesity are common conditions that are strongly associated. This association might be due to shared genetic or environmental causes. Objective: We sought to determine whether a shared genetic cause is responsible for the association between asthma and obesity and to estimate the magnitude of shared genetic cause. Methods: The analyses were performed with 1001 monozygotic […]