Cohen Syndrome and Weight Gain: What the Association Might Imply about the Cause of Obesity
Cohen syndrome is a genetic disorder associated with problems on the eighth chromosome. It appears to predispose for "non progressive psychomotor retardation, motor clumsiness and typical facial features," as well as for a "tendency to truncular obesity."
Obesity is a common side effect of this genetic disorder, as the authors of this paper tell us:
[Cohen Syndrome] is a rare genetic disorder caused by autosomal recessive inheritance and characterized by... [features such as] mental retardation... narrow and high arched palate... poor dentition... and truncal obesity."
How could a genetic disorder predispose people to gain weight in the abdomen? And how might this observation relate to the general debate over what constitutes a healthy diet?
As we've discussed, two fundamental hypotheses compete to explain what drives overweight and obesity.
The prevailing Caloric Balance Hypothesis -- the notion that "calories matter" -- mandates that people with this disorder can only gain weight by eating too much or not exercising enough.
The alternative Lipophilia Hypothesis -- the notion that the fat tissue "works for itself" -- tells us the genetic disorder likely deranges the metabolism of the fat tissue itself.