News at Medicine - January 2016 - Student wins excellence award at top prestigious obesity conference

Student wins excellence award at top prestigious obesity conference
January 7, 2016
Dr. Pardis Pedram, a PhD candidate, has won the Poster of Excellence Award at the Obesity Society 2015 annual scientific meeting.

Dr. Pedram is supervised by Dr. Guang Sun, whose expertise in research is in the field of nutrigenomics; the genetic, endocrine and nutritional factors responsible for the predisposition to obesity and diabetes.

The study, titled “Serum GLP-1, PYY, ghrelin, amylin and TNFα are significantly associated with the severity of Childhood Obesity”, was presented in a poster at the meeting held in November in Los Angeles, Calif.

In Canada, 31.5 per cent of children aged five to 17 years old, are considered overweight or obese and Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest rates of child and youth obesity in Canada. Obesity is the primary risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and is linked to many types of cancer. Obesity in children is a complex multifactorial disease and the factors are not yet completely understood.

The study presented in Dr. Pedram’s poster investigated the levels of an adipokine (TNFα) and nine gut hormones: amylin, ghrelin, leptin, GLP-1, GIP, PP, PYY, C-peptide and insulin as a functionally related group of hormones and the correlation to obesity measurements in obese and normal weight children.

“We found some of the hormones in obese children are different from what we have found in adults,” said Dr. Pedram. She also added that their findings are important to help understand the mechanism and potentially the treatment of childhood obesity.

This is the first study in this field that the group investigated and compared the gut hormones between obese and healthy children as a method for finding correlations.

The authors of this paper include Dr. Pedram, Peter Gregory, Dr. Antony Card, Dr. Tracey Bridger, Hongwei Zhang and Dr. Sun.

The research team, led by Dr. Sun, has made many important discoveries in the fields of human genetics, endocrinology and nutrition on obesity and diabetes.

“These findings will not only benefit children in Newfoundland and Labrador but will be applicable to wider population in Canada.”