Unlocking the Mysteries of Hunger

New Research Aims to Transform Understanding of Prader-Willi Syndrome

The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR) has once again stepped forward as a beacon of hope for families and individuals affected by Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). In a groundbreaking initiative, Dr. Giles Yeo and his team at the University of Cambridge have embarked on a quest to unravel the complexities of appetite control in those with PWS, thanks to the generous funding of $161,947 from FPWR.

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a genetic condition marked by an insatiable hunger, leading to chronic overeating and life-threatening obesity. Until now, the intricate workings of the brain responsible for this relentless appetite have been cloaked in mystery, primarily due to the challenges of studying the human hypothalamus—a brain region central to regulating hunger.

With the partnership of Autism BrainNet, Dr. Yeo’s team has gained unprecedented access to hypothalamic tissue samples from individuals who lived with PWS. Leveraging cutting-edge single-cell sequencing technology, they aim to create a detailed map of the hypothalamus, revealing how it differs in those with PWS compared to those without the syndrome.

This research is not just about advancing scientific knowledge. It’s a step towards tangible benefits for the PWS community. The data amassed will be made freely available, serving as a vital resource for researchers worldwide. It’s hoped that by comparing the hypothalamic cells from PWS-affected individuals with those from unaffected donors, scientists can pinpoint the malfunctioning circuits that trigger uncontrolled eating.

The FPWR’s commitment to fostering research that directly impacts the lives of those with PWS is evident in this project. It’s a testament to their dedication that families touched by PWS can look forward to a future where the challenges they face are not just understood, but also effectively managed.

You can read more about this incredible work here

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Article By Renee Zilm

Renee excels in enhancing business operations by refining processes, ensuring organisations function with greater efficiency, effectiveness, and strategic insight. Beyond her professional expertise, Renee is a mother to four children. Her life took a poignant turn when her second youngest child was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome shortly after birth. Embracing this challenge with grace, Renee now dedicates her time to caring for her son while also committing herself wholeheartedly to her role as President of the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Victoria.

Ever since her son Harvey’s diagnosis, Renee has been a force of change, initiating and steering innovative programs and services designed to empower individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Renee is deeply invested in the tenets of social justice and inclusion, driven by the conviction that individuals with disabilities deserve equitable access to support and resources necessary for a full and inclusive life. Her profound dedication to her work and her family reflects an overarching mission to ensure that every individual with disabilities can thrive in a supportive and inclusive society.