A new biomarker in urine to predict childhood obesity complications might be tested in a clinical trial.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the Seoul National University Hospital and Inje University Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation have obtained a patent for “Prognostic marker for diagnosis of obesity of complications associated with obesity” on Friday. It is a technique that can diagnose obesity or obesity-related complications using only urine, not blood or tissues.
The patented prognostic biomarkers are 4-Hydroxybenzaldehyde, 4-Sulfobenzyl alcohol, N,N-dimethyl-Safingol, Docosanoic acid, 4αHydroxymethyl-5α-cholesta-8-en-3β-ol, and 12-Oxo-20-carboxy-leukotriene B4
Analyzing one of these markers can predict or diagnose obesity and obesity complications, the researchers said.
“Although there has been a need to develop a technology to predict obesity in children at an early stage, no technology has been able to diagnose childhood obesity yet,” researchers said.
“However, these markers can be found in urine, making much easier to collect than blood, tissues, or cells. They will be useful for early diagnosis and treatment of obesity in children and adolescents,” they added.
In the U.S., the U.K., and Japan, the health authorities have guidelines to prevent obesity-related complications and to reduce the population of overweight children.
The prevalence of obesity in Korean boys aged between 10 and 14 is 17.9 percent, higher than the prevalence of 14-18 percent in their American peers.
Researchers noted that childhood obesity leads to adult obesity and accompanies several physical and mental complications. Childhood obesity also causes chronic diseases such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes early, and exacerbates symptoms, they added.
“In childhood, it is difficult to manage obesity, which is why adult obesity can follow easily. Even if children lose weight, the number of adipocytes does not go down but the cell size temporarily decreases. Due to excessive supply of calories, obesity can recur,” the researchers said.
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