MEDSCAPE – It sounds like a simple solution to a complicated problem: Find out what kind of obesity you have based on a one-time genetic saliva test.
Then you and your doctor can get a better idea if anti-obesity drugs or other treatments are more likely to work for you.
The goal of creating the obesity types and test is to increase chances you’ll lose weight and improve your health and well-being, vs. a one-strategy-fits-all approach. It’s what Mayo Clinic researchers had in mind when they created four phenotypes of obesity.
Obesity experts not affiliated with the research have some concerns and say independent studies are needed to verify the potential of this strategy.
This research could help predict who will respond best to popular anti-obesity medications, said Andres Acosta, MD, PhD, co-founder of Phenomix Sciences, the company behind the tests.
These medications include the class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide receptor agonists (GLP-1s) like liraglutide (Saxenda, Victoza) and semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy).
“We know that not everyone on a GLP-1 will respond. In reality, about a third of the patients don’t do well with GLP-1s,” said Acosta, an assistant professor of medicine and researcher in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Furthest along in development is the “My Phenome Hungry Gut” test for predicting GLP-1 response.
People in this Hungry Gut group tend to empty their stomach after a meal faster and are more likely to feel hungry again a short time later, as explained on the company’s website.
A pilot study to test how well it works started in April at three primary care practices. Plans are to expand real-world testing for this and other obesity types later this year.
The other obesity categories are:
- “Hungry Brain,” where the brain does not recognize signals that the stomach is full
- “Emotional Hunger,” where cravings to eat are driven by emotions, anxiety, and negative feelings
- “Slow Burn,” where people have a slow metabolism and low energy level …