Author Interviews, Lancet, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 10.01.2017 Interview with: Dr Thomas H. Inge MD University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine Aurora, CO 80045 What is the background for this study? Response: Gastric bypass surgery helps severely obese teenagers lose weight and keep it off, according to the first long term follow up studies of teenagers who had undergone the procedure 5-12 years earlier. However, the studies show some patients will need further surgery to deal with complications or may develop vitamin deficiencies later in life, according to two studies published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. Severe obesity is classified as having a BMI of 40 or over (around 100 pounds overweight) and affects around 4.6 million children and teenagers in the USA. It causes ill health, poor quality of life and cuts life expectancy. The studies are the first to look at long-term effects of gastric bypass surgery in teenagers. Until now, it has been unclear how successful the surgery is in the long-term and whether it can lead to complications. Thousands of teenagers are offered surgical treatment each year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 07.01.2017 Interview with: Dr Torsten Olbers PhD Department of Gastrosurgical Research Institute of Clinical Sciences University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital Gothenburg Sweden What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background to study was the lack of effective treatments for adolescents with severe obesity and the observation that many adults undergoing gastric bypass regret that they didn't´t do it earlier. The medical indication is to hopefully prevent development of diseases and organ damage due to cardiovascular risk factors and to enable them to have normalised psychosocial development (education, relation etc). In fact most of the adolescents undergoing surgery had parents having undergone surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Weight Research / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Dr Stacey Lockyer BSc(hons) MSc PhD RNutr Nutrition Scientist British Nutrition Foundation Imperial House 6th Floor London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This in depth review examines the potential health benefits of resistant starch, a form of starch that is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a type of dietary fibre. Some forms of resistant starch occur naturally in foods such as bananas, potatoes, grains, and pulses, and some are produced or modified commercially and incorporated into food products as a functional ingredient. There has been increasing research interest in resistant starch, with a large number of human studies published over the last 10 years looking at a variety of different health outcomes such as postprandial glycaemia, satiety and gut health. The review summarises reported effects and explores the potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. There is consistent evidence that consumption of resistant starch in place of digestible carbohydrates can aid blood glucose control and this has resulted in an approved health claim in the European Union. There is also some evidence that resistant starch can support gut health and enhance satiety, though much more research is needed in these areas. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Edwina Yeung, Ph.D Investigator, Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development What is the background for this study? Response: About 1 in 5 pregnant women in the United States is obese. Other studies have looked at mothers’ obesity in terms of children’s development, but no U.S. studies have looked at whether there might be a contribution from the father’s weight. What are the main findings? Response: One of the main findings of this study is that maternal obesity is associated with a delay in fine motor skill-- the ability to control movement of small muscles, such as those in the fingers and hands. Paternal obesity is associated with a delay in personal-social skills including the way the child interacts with others. Having both a mother and a father with severe obesity (BMI≥35) was associated with a delay in problem solving ability. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kaiser Permanente, Lancet, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 29.12.2016 Interview with: De-Kun Li, MD, PhD Senior Research Scientist Division of Research Kaiser Foundation Research Institute Kaiser Permanente Oakland, CA 94612 What is the background for this study? Response: The composition of gut microbia (microbiome) has emerged as a key contributor to human disease risk. The external influence on the composition of microbiome in early childhood, especially in infancy, has been linked to increased risk of childhood obesity. Several studies have examined use of antibiotics in infancy and reported an association between use of antibiotics and increased risk of childhood obesity. This has caused a great uncertainty among both pediatricians and parents regarding treatment of infant infections. However, the previous studies failed to separate the effect of underlying infections for which antibiotics were used from the effect of the antibiotics itself. The contribution of our study was to examine the effects of infections and antibiotic use separately. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, Weight Research / 21.12.2016 Interview with: Prof. Jamal Tazi Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier University of Montpellier Montpellier, Cedex, France What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Intense drug discovery efforts in the metabolic field highlight the need for novel strategies for the treatment of obesity. In this study we have used a novel approach to uncover novel drugs to treat obesity. Our approach is based on the finding that in humans the energy expenditure balance can be controlled by a single gene LMNA gene that can produce two different proteins with opposing effect on energy expenditure. We identified a molecule ABX300 that targets the expression of LMNA gene and favors energy expenditure leading to fat loss. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Weight Research / 20.12.2016 Interview with: Igho Onakpoya MD MSc University of Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences Oxford UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several medicines used to treat obesity have been withdrawn from the market over the last few years. However, the reasons for, and time trends about their withdrawals have not been systematically researched. We identified 25 anti-obesity medicines withdrawn from the market over the last 50 years. 23 of these analogues of amphetamine or fenfluramine, i.e., neurotransmitters. The reasons for withdrawal in the overwhelming majority of instances were cardiovascular or psychiatric adverse reactions, and drug abuse and dependence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Johns Hopkins, Weight Research / 16.12.2016 Interview with: Ruchi Doshi, MPH MD Candidate 2017 | Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Current guidelines recommend that physicians collaborate with non-physician health professionals to deliver weight management care. While several studies have looked at barriers physicians face in providing these services, few studies have looked at the barriers that the non-physician health professionals face. Ultimately, we found that one quarter of these health professionals found insurance coverage to be a current challenge to providing weight management care, and that over half of them felt improved coverage would help facilitate weight loss. These findings were consistent regardless of the income level of the patient populations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Leukemia, Nature, Pediatrics, UT Southwestern, Weight Research / 13.12.2016 Interview with: Chengcheng (Alec) Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor Hortense L. and Morton H. Sanger Professorship in Oncology Michael L. Rosenberg Scholar for Medical Research Department of Physiology UT Southwestern Medical Center What is the background for this study? Response: New therapeutic targets and approaches are needed to effectively treat leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of adult acute leukemia whereas acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of cancer in children; ALL also occurs in adults. Although treatment of pediatric ALL is highly effective, a sizeable number of patients are non-responders who succumb to this disease. The outcome of ALL in adults is significantly worse than for pediatric ALL. Additionally, some types of ALL have a much poorer prognosis than others. Dietary restriction, including fasting, delays aging and has prolonged effects in a wide range of organisms and has been considered for cancer prevention. In certain types of solid tumor,_ENREF_1 dietary restriction regimens are able to promote T cell-mediated tumor cytotoxicity and enhance anticancer immunosurveillance, and coordinate with chemotherapy to promote the anti-cancer effects. However, the responsiveness of hematopoietic malignancies to dietary restriction, including fasting, remains unknown. Furthermore, whether dietary restriction alone can inhibit cancer development is not clear. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lipids, Nutrition, Weight Research / 13.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Koji Ishiguro National Agriculture and Food Research Organization Japan What is the background for this study? Response: -Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) roots are not only used for human consumption, they are used to make starch materials, processed foods, and distilled spirits in Japan. Starch use accounts for about 15% (131,500 tons) of total sweet potato production. Starch residues are discharged during starch production and are mainly used in animal feed and compost. Large amounts of the wastewater, which can cause serious environmental problems, are discarded after clarification. Investigation into the uses of the by-products of the sweet potato starch industry would benefit both the environment and industry. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, NIH, Weight Research / 09.12.2016 Interview with: Audrey Chu, Ph.D. Division of Intramural Research National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Body shape reflects the underlying adipose tissue distributed throughout different compartments of the body (ectopic fat). Variation in ectopic fat is associated with diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. This is mostly independent of overall adiposity. Ectopic fat can be measured using special x-rays procedures such as CT (“CAT scans”) or MRI and can give more information about fat distribution. Fat distribution characteristics can run in families, suggesting that a person’s genes can help determine the amount of fat that can accumulate in different parts of the body. Identifying genes that are associated with ectopic fat can provide insight into the biological mechanisms leading to differences in cardiometabolic disease risk. In order to understand which genes might be involved, we examined genetic variants across the genome and their association with ectopic fat in the largest study of its kind including over 18,000 individuals of four different ancestral backgrounds. Several new genetic regions were identified in association with ectopic fat in addition to confirming previously known regions. The association of the new regions was specific to ectopic fat, since the majority of the regions were not associated with overall or central adiposity. Furthermore, most of these regions were not associated with type 2 diabetes, lipids, heart disease or blood pressure. The major exception was the region surrounding the UBE2E2 gene, which was associated with diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, Nature, Weight Research / 03.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Eran Elinav. Principal investigator Immunology Department Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot, Israel What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Recurrent obesity is a very common yet poorly studied and under researched phenomenon. It is well known that many people diet, but then regain the weight they lost and even add more weight. We found that the gut microbiome is a major driver of this enhanced weight regain phenomenon. We found that in the obese state, the microbiome is altered, and these alterations are not reversed upon weight loss. And these alterations are sufficient to drive weight regain, since transferring them to germ-free mice also transferred the enhanced weight regain phenotype. Moreover, we provide three different treatments for this condition: (1) Antibiotics; (2) transfer of bacteria from lean mice; and (3) addition of specific molecules that we found to be lacking in the altered microbiome. All of these treatments cured the mice we tested from enhanced weight regain. (more…)
Artificial Sweeteners, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Metabolic Syndrome, Weight Research / 28.11.2016 Interview with: Richard Hodin, MD Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Surgery Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School Chief of Academic Affairs, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, Mass 02114 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sugar substitutes like Aspartame are widely used and supposed to make people lose weight and have less diabetes, heart disease, etc. However, a number of studies indicate that theses substitutes don’t work very well. The reasons for them not working have not been clear. Our study found that the most common sugar substitute (aspartame) blocks an enzyme in our gut called Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase (IAP). By blocking IAP, Aspartame prevents the beneficial effects of IAP which normally works to prevent obesity, diabetes, and other aspects of the metabolic syndrome. So, we now have an explanation for why Aspartame may make obesity and the metabolic syndrome worse, rather than better. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 21.11.2016 Interview with: Liping Pan, MD MPH Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This CDC report is the first to use the WIC Participant Characteristic (WIC PC) data from the USDA to monitor trends in obesity among young children aged 2 to 4 years in the WIC program. The main findings of the study are: • 34 of 56 (61%) WIC state agencies reported modest decreases in obesity among young children from 2010 to 2014. • From 2000 to 2010, the prevalence of obesity among 2-4 year olds increased from 14.0% to 15.9%, then dropped to 14.5% from 2010 to 2014. • Obesity prevalence varied by state, ranging from 8.2 percent in Utah to 20.0 percent in Virginia. • From 2010 to 2014, obesity prevalence decreased among all major racial/ethnic groups, including non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Asians/Pacific Islanders. • From 2000 to 2014, obesity prevalence decreased significantly among Asian/Pacific Islanders, from 13.9 percent to 11.1 percent. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Menopause, Weight Research, Women's Heart Health / 20.11.2016 Interview with: Somwail Rasla, MD Internal Medicine Resident Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Brown University What is the background for this study? Response: Weight cycling has been studied as a possible risk factors for all-cause mortality and was found to be insignificant in some studies and significant in other studies when adjusted to age and timing of when the weight cycling occurred. It was proposed that weight cycling may increase risk of chronic inflammation by which weight cycling was considered to be a risk factor for increased morbidity and all cause mortalities. Other studies have reported that frequent weight cycling was associated with shorter telomere length, which is a risk factor for several comorbidities including CHD. Earlier studies showed that weight cycling has an association with increase in size of adipocytes as well as fluctuation of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and glucagon which may contribute to the increased incidence of diabetes. Alternatively, in the nurses’ health study , weight cycling was not predictive of cardiovascular or total mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Nature, UT Southwestern, Weight Research / 19.11.2016 Interview with: Dan Rosenbaum, Ph.D. Principal Investigator Department of Biophysics The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study focuses on the structure of the human CB1 cannabinoid receptor. The CB1 protein is a membrane-embedded G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) in the brain and peripheral tissues that responds to a variety of different compounds, including endogenous lipid messengers (‘endocannabinoids’), plant natural products (such as THC from the Cannabis sativa plant i.e. marijuana), and synthetic antagonists (such as the taranabant ligand used for this study). The CB1 receptor is involved in regulating neurotransmission in vertebrates, and is a potential therapeutic target for numerous conditions including obesity, pain, and epilepsy. The main findings of this study entailed the solution of the high-resolution crystal structure of human CB1 receptor bound to the inhibitor taranabant. This structure revealed the precise shape of the inhibitor binding pocket, which is also responsible for binding THC and endocannabinoids. In addition to helping explain the mechanism of inhibitor and THC binding, our structure provides a framework for computational studies of binding to a large diversity of cannabinoid modulators of therapeutic importance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pharmacology, Scripps, Weight Research / 15.11.2016 Interview with: Ken Fujioka M.D. Director of the Center for Weight Management Scripps Clinical Department of Endocrinology La Jolla CA What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity is an odd disease that has many causes (overeating, underactivity, the patient being placed on a medication that drives up weight and a whole lot of other causes that result in a higher weight) so trying to find the right treatment, in this case a weight loss medication, for a particular patient is not an easy task. If there is a way to find out if you’ve picked the right medication (a weight loss of at least 5%) then this can help you decide whether you should keep the patient on the medication or stop the medication. There are two huge benefits to this: 1. Is that you find your responders (patients) that will go on to lose weight and do well and 2. When you stop the medication in the non-responders you eliminate any potential adverse events from the weight loss medication. Thus this study was designed to find out if early weight loss can predict who will go on to lose a significant amount of weight on Liraglutide. And yes those who lose weight go on to lose weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 15.11.2016 Interview with: Brodie Parent, MD MS General Surgery R4 University of Washington What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We already knew that women with a history of bariatric surgery are a high risk group when it comes to childbirth. Our study has confirmed prior data which show that infants from these women are at a higher risk for being premature, low birth-weight, or requiring ICU admission. However, this is some of the first data which looks at their risk over time after recovery from the operation. Data from this study show that risks to the infant are highest in the first 3 years after an operation, and diminish over time. This suggests that women should wait a minimum of three years after an operation before attempting conception. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Medical Imaging, MRI, Weight Research / 08.11.2016 Interview with: Fatemeh Mokhtari Medical Imaging PhD Student VT-WFU SBES What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The objective of this study was to use baseline anatomical brain MRI scans to prospectively predict weight loss success following an intensive lifestyle intervention. In the study, 52 participants, age 60 to 79, were recruited from the Cooperative Lifestyle Interventions Programs II (CLIP-II) project. The participants were overweight or obese (BMI greater than 28 and less than 42) and had a history of either cardiovascular disease or metabolic syndrome. All participants had a baseline MRI scan, and then were randomized to one of three groups – diet only, diet plus aerobic exercise training or diet plus resistance exercise training. The goal of the 18-month diet and exercise program was a weight loss of 7 to 10 percent of body mass. Basic brain structure information garnered from the MRIs was classified using a support vector machine, a type of computerized predictive algorithm. Specifically, we trained a computational predictive model which mapped each subject’s brain scan to weight loss performance. Predictions were based on baseline brain gray and white matter volume from the participants’ MRIs and compared to the study participants’ actual weight loss after the 18 months. The accuracy of the model was then tested, and our prediction algorithms were 78% accurate in predicting successful weight loss. Brain gray matter volume provided higher prediction accuracy compared with white matter and the combination of the two outperformed either one alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 07.11.2016 with: Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, Director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and ACTION study steering committee member What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Today, nearly 100 million people in the U.S. have obesity. Despite the fact that many healthcare providers and others recognize obesity as a disease that can have a significant impact on health, many people with obesity do not have access to effective care for this disorder. As a result, obesity remains substantially under-diagnosed, under-addressed and under-treated. Since multiple parties could have a role in overcoming this barrier to effective obesity care, we sought to determine and compare the perspectives and experience of three important groups – health care providers, employers, and people with obesity themselves – about obesity and its care. As the first national study looking simultaneously at these complementary perspectives, ACTION sought to help answer several important questions:
  • Given that obesity is occurring at epidemic rates, why is it not being treated? What are the barriers to effective care?
  • How could public and professional attitudes contribute?
  • To what degree do limitations of resources or knowledge about the disease contribute?
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Weight Research / 04.11.2016 Interview with: Patrick M. O'Neil, Ph.D. Director, Weight Management Center Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC 29425 What is already known about the subject? • Even modest weight loss (2-5%) from clinical interventions improves glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. • Commercial weight loss programs, comparatively more affordable and accessible than clinic-based modalities, can produce weight losses in this range, although they typically do not offer diabetes-specific counseling. • Data are sparse on such programs’ effects on glycemic control for adults with T2DM. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pharmacology, Weight Research / 03.11.2016 Interview with: Dr Todd Hobbs MD Chief medical officer (CMO) Novo Nordisk in North America What is the background for this study? Response: There is little data that describes weight loss and other outcomes separately in early weight loss responders and early weight loss non-responders. Early weight loss, whether through lifestyle or pharmacotherapy, can be a good predictor of long-term weight loss. Consequently, all recently-approved weight loss medication labels include ‘stopping rules’ for discontinuing medication if a threshold weight loss is not achieved by a specified milestone. Bottom line, it’s important patients don’t continue on a therapy that isn’t working for them. This makes this form of research important from a clinical standpoint but also in the larger obesity treatment paradigm - including payers and how pharmaceutical treatments are labeled. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Primary Care, Weight Research / 26.10.2016 Interview with: Paul Aveyard PhD MRCP FRCGP FFPH Professor of Behavioural Medicine Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences University of Oxford Radcliffe Primary Care Building Radcliffe Observatory Quarter Oxford What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know that opportunistic brief interventions by physicians can be effective, but there is no evidence that they are so for obesity. Physicians worry that broaching this topic will be offensive, time-consuming, and ineffective. We needed a randomised trial to assess whether physicians’ fears were justified, or in fact brief interventions could be as effective for patients who are overweight as they are for smoking or problem drinking and that’s what we did. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 26.10.2016 Interview with: Dr. Susan L. McElroy, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience Chief Research Officer Lindner Center of HOPE University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: SPD489-346, designed as a multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-optimized, randomized-withdrawal study, is the first-ever longer-term pharmacologic study (38 weeks) to evaluate the maintenance of efficacy between Vyvanse and placebo in adults with moderate to severe binge eating disorder (B.E.D.). Study SPD489-346 evaluated the longer-term maintenance of efficacy (38 weeks) between Vyvanse and placebo based on the primary endpoint of time to relapse during the randomized-withdrawal phase in adults aged 18 to 55 (N=267) with moderate to severe B.E.D. based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition – Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR®) criteria. In the study, relapse was defined as having two or more binge days per week for two consecutive weeks prior to any visit and an increase in Clinical Global Impressions-Severity (CGI-S) score of two or more points relative to the randomized-withdrawal baseline visit Results from SPD489-346 indicated that Vyvanse (n=136) demonstrated significant maintenance of efficacy compared to placebo (n=131) based upon the primary endpoint of time to relapse. At the conclusion of the study, maintenance of efficacy for patients who had an initial response during the open-label phase, and then continued on Vyvanse during the randomized-withdrawal phase, was demonstrated with Vyvanse being superior over placebo as measured by time to relapse. Safety and tolerability evaluations of Vyvanse included treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) and vital signs. The safety profile for Vyvanse in this study was generally consistent with the known profile reported in previous studies in adult patients with moderate to severe B.E.D. Vyvanse is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe B.E.D. in adults. Vyvanse is not for weight loss. It is not known if Vyvanse is safe and effective for the treatment of obesity. Vyvanse is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or sharing Vyvanse may harm others and is illegal. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Lipids, Nutrition, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Weight Research / 26.10.2016 Interview with: Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D. FACN President, The Center for Genetics Nutrition and Health Washington, DC 20016 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I have written extensively on the evolutionary aspects of diet, the diet of Crete prior to 1960 in which I pointed to the misinterpretation of the data of the Seven Countries Study by Keys et al. A major characteristic of these diets is a balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio. The recommendation to substitute saturated fats with omega-6 rich oils (sunflower, corn, soybean) increases inflammation and coronary heart disease. It has been shown in a number of studies that a high omega-6/omega-3 (20/1 instead of a balanced ratio) leads to an increase in white adipose tissue and prevents the formation of brown adipose tissue leading to obesity. The changes in the diet-high in omega-6 oils depletion of omega-3 and high fructose along with highly refined carbohydrates in processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle lead to obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer. The scientific evidence from the FAT-1 mouse and recent cohort studies clearly show that the current dietary guidelines as the previous ones are not based on science that takes into consideration genetics, metabolism, the concept that a calorie is not a calorie. It is important to consider that nutrients influence the expression of genes, the omega-6 fatty acids are the most pro-inflammatory nutrients, and inflammation is at the base of all chronic non-communicable diseases. (more…)
Author Interviews, FASEB, Weight Research / 17.10.2016 Interview with: Ramesh Narayanan, Ph.D., MBA Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Director, Center for Cancer Drug Discovery, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, 38103. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity and metabolic diseases affect over a third of the global population. Obesity, unlike several diseases, is not isolated as it’s incidence is associated with other conditions such as type-2-diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty-liver. Although calorie-restriction and exercise assist in the fight against obesity, these approaches have limitations in morbidly obese individuals and in individuals with comorbidities. The drugs that are available to treat obesity act by inducing satiety. Alternate peripheral non-CNS approaches are required to treat obesity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Genetic Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Weight Research / 15.10.2016 Interview with: Annette Schürmann PhD Department of Experimental Diabetology German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE) Nuthetal Germany German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD München-Neuherberg Germany What is the background for this study? Response: The aim of our study was to clarify why genetically identical mice respond very different to a high fat diet. Some of the mice react with an elevated body weight, others not. We analyzed the expression pattern of liver at two time points, at the age of 6 weeks, (the earlierst time point to distiguish between those that respond to the diet (responder mice) and those that did not (non-responders)), and at the age of 20 weeks. One transcript that was significantly reduced in the liver of responder mice at both time points was Igfbp2. The reason for the reduced expression was an elevated DNA-methylation at a position that is conserved in the mouse and human sequence. The elevated DNA-methylation of this specifc site in human was recently described to associate with elevated fat storage (hepatosteatosis) and NASH. However, as 6 weeks old mice did not show differences in liver fat content between responder and non-responder mice we conclude that the alteration of Igfbp2 expression and DNA metyhlation occurs before the development of fatty liver. Our data furthermore showed that the epigenetic inhibition of Igfbp2 expression was associated with elevated blood glucose and insulin resistance but not with fatty liver. (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 08.10.2016 Interview with: Li-Jun Yang MD Professor, Hematopathology University of Florida What is the background for this study? Response: Irisin, an exercise-induced myokine, promotes converting subcutaneous (sc) fat-storing adipocytes into fat-burning adipocytes, namely “browning”. Although beneficial effects of irisin such as browning and weight loss in obese animal have been observed in mice, the effect of irisin in human adipocytes is controversial. Moreover, the mechanisms of irisin’s anti-obesity are not clear and systemic studies are not available using human adipose tissues. In our study, we aimed at exploring at the multiple levels in the mechanisms of irisin’s anti-obesity effects using human adipocytes and human adipose tissues. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Memory, University Texas, Weight Research / 27.09.2016 Interview with: Ursala. H. Winzer-Serhan Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics Texas A&M Health Science Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nicotine is a plant alkaloid that is naturally occurring in the tobacco plant. Smoking delivers nicotine to the brain where it acts as a stimulant. Tobacco and electronic cigarette smoking delivers many other chemicals to the body, which are harmful and can cause cancer. However, the drug nicotine by itself is relatively benign and poses few health risks for most people. Nicotine acts in the brain on nicotinic receptors, which are ion channels that are widely expressed in the brain. They play an important role in cognitive functions. Research with rodents and in humans has shown that nicotine can enhance learning and memory, and furthermore, can protect neurons during injuries and in the aging brain. With the increasingly older population, it becomes more and more important to delay cognitive decline in the elderly. Right now, there is no drug available that could delay aging of the brain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Biomarkers, Weight Research / 22.09.2016 Interview with: Makoto Fukuda Ph.D. Assistant Professor Children's Nutrition Research Center Department of Pediatrics Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas 77030 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A hallmark characteristic of obesity is diminished actions of metabolic hormones that are critically required to maintain whole body energy balance and glucose homeostasis. Leptin is a crucial and powerful hormone that keeps body weight normal. It was hoped that leptin might be a “magic bullet” that could cure obesity. Shortly after the discovery, however, obese individuals were found to have little or no response to exogenously administered leptin, a state of “leptin resistance”. These observations created a central question to be addressed in the field, which would help our understanding of the core of pathophysiology of obesity. While we and other groups previously demonstrated that Epac, a signaling molecule known as a GTP/GDP exchange factor directly activated by cAMP, is involved in cellular leptin resistance, the role of brain Epac signaling in the whole body metabolism has not yet established. We approached this question by using brain-specific knockout mice of Rap1, a direct activator of Epac. As expected from previous results, mice with brain-specific deficiency of Rap1 failed to develop leptin resistance even when they were challenged with a hypercaloric diet. What impressed us most in this study was that Rap1 in the brain plays a key role in the whole body metabolic control, beyond its role in controlling leptin sensitivity. Loss of brain Rap1 protects mice from diet-induced obesity and disordered glucose balance, whereas these knockout mice maintained a similar body weight to that of control mice on a normal regular diet. Further, pharmacological inhibition of this pathway reversed leptin resistance and reduced the body weight of dietary obese mice. At the cellular level, we found an unexpected link between Rap1 and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress that has emerged as a causative contributor to the development of leptin resistance. (more…)