Getting the goods on obesity
A study in the World Journal of Surgery finds that obesity and two post-operative complications linked with it, incisional hernia and post-op infection, have associated genetic variants in common.
It's a longstanding question: does obesity influence these complications or is the real culprit some other problem that commonly co-occurs with obesity, such as diabetes? To the extent that the genetic variants at issue in the study betray no links with other patient conditions, they might be a key piece of evidence.
Jamie Robinson, MD, MS, Joshua Denny, MD, MS, and colleagues gathered BMI and post-op complication data for 736,726 patients, confirming that increases in BMI bear a strong association with both complications.
They used 97 obesity-risk genetic variants to construct genetic risk scoring for obesity, and in a second cohort of 65,174 genotyped patients, they found strong associations between higher genetic risk scores and both complications. Obesity, a strong risk factor for these complications, might indeed be the real culprit.