Author Interviews, Diabetes, Weight Research / 11.06.2019 Interview with: Kalypso Karastergiou, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study?   Response: Multiple studies, epidemiological as well as clinical, have established that body shape is an important and independent predictor of cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk and ultimately total mortality. Subjects that preferentially store weight in the abdominal area (often described as android, upper-body or apple-shape obesity) are at increased risk, whereas those who preferentially store weight in the lower body, in the gluteofemoral area (gynoid, lower-body or pear-shape), appear to be protected. The former is more common in men, whereas the latter in women, especially premenopausal women. The overarching questions in the field are:
  • What factors determine body shape?
  • Why are subjects with lower-body shape protected?
  • Can we exploit the physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms involved to improve stratification, prevention or treatment of obesity and related diseases? 
Author Interviews, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 14.11.2018 Interview with: Alison E. Field, ScD Professor and Chair of Epidemiology Brown University School of Public Heath Providence, RI What is the background for this study?   Response: In the United States, approximately 40% of adults are obese. There are a range of treatment options, but relatively few people are able to lose weight and maintain the loss. The most effective treatment is bariatric surgery, but even among patients who have undergone bariatric surgery, there is a range in weight change patterns after surgery. This suggests that not all people with obesity are similar. There may be different causes and optimal treatment plans that vary by obesity subgroup. Our goal was to identify subgroups and to examine if they differed in terms of weight loss after bariatric surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Lancet, Metabolic Syndrome, Weight Research / 01.06.2018 Interview with: Nathalie Eckel, MSc German Diabetes Center Düsseldorf, Germany What is the background for this study?  Response: Obesity is associated with metabolic disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia, and with a higher risk of cardiovacular disease compared to normal weight. However, there is also the phenomenon of the so-called "metabolically healthy obesity" and "metabolically unhealthy normal-weight". So far it has been unclear how metabolic risk factors change over time in metabolically healthy people depending on body weight and what cardiovascular disease risk results from this. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 19.08.2016 Interview with: Dr. Gang Hu, Associate Professor LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center & Director Chronic Disease Epidemiology Lab What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Some studies have found that maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) places offspring at increased risk of long-term adverse outcomes, including obesity. However, most of studies are from high income countries, with limited data from low to middle income countries. The present study, conducted at urban and suburban sites in 12 countries, found that the increased risk for children of GDM mothers compared with non-gestational diabetes mellitus mothers was 53% for obesity, 73% for central obesity, and 42% for high body fat. (more…)
Author Interviews, MRI, Weight Research / 12.07.2016 Interview with: Guido Camps, MSc PhD candidate Wageningen University and Research Centre The Netherlands Editor's note:  The researcher would like readers to be aware that this work is preliminary and has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background was that we wanted to study gastric distension with actual food. Because using different foods would also change the caloric content, we added water. We wanted to see if we could measure both the stomach and the brain, and what the added distension would feel like to the subjects and what brain effects we could see. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Sleep Disorders, Stroke, Weight Research / 09.07.2016 Interview with: Azizi Seixas, Ph.D. Post-Doc Fellow Department of Population Health Center for Healthful Behavior Change NYU School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Compared with whites, blacks are disproportionately affected by strokes. The overwhelming prevalence of obesity among blacks compared to whites has been suggested as a possible explanation for the disproportionate rates of strokes among blacks compared to whites. Recent findings linking insufficient sleep and stroke as well as the disproportionate burden of insufficient sleep among blacks compared to whites might provide a unique mechanism explaining why blacks have higher rates of stroke. However, it is unclear whether insufficient sleep and obesity contributes to the higher rates of stroke among blacks compared to whites. To test our hypothesis, we utilized data from the National Health Interview Survey from 2004-2013 with a sample size of 288,888 individuals from the United States. Using Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) analysis, a form of machine learning analysis, we assessed the mediating effects of BMI on the relationship between short sleep duration (≤6 hrs. total sleep duration), long sleep duration (≥9 hrs. total sleep duration), and stroke, and whether race/ethnicity differences in obesity moderated these relationships. (more…)
Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Sleep Disorders, Weight Research / 15.06.2016 Interview with: Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD, MPH, C. B.S.M. Diplomate, Academy of Cognitive Therapy Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, IL 60611 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In contrast to several previous studies, being a late sleeper was not associated with higher BMI (good news for late sleepers!!) but it was associated with less healthy behaviors, more fast food, fewer vegetables, lower dairy. It may be possible that these late sleepers who are able to get enough sleep can compensate for their poor diet by controlling overall calories or it could possibly lead to weight gain over time if their habits continue over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Weight Research / 12.05.2016 Interview with: Shoaib Afzal, MD, PhD Department of Clinical Biochemistry Copenhagen General Population Study Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Afzal: Previous findings indicate that while average BMI has increased over time in most countries, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors may be decreasing among obese individuals. Thus, the BMI associated with the lowest all-cause mortality may have changed over time. This study included three cohorts from the same general population enrolled at different times: the Copenhagen City Heart Study in 1976-1978 (n = 13,704) and 1991-1994 (n = 9,482) and the Copenhagen General Population Study in 2003-2013 (n = 97,362). The increased risk for all-cause mortality that was associated with obesity compared to normal weight decreased from 30% in 1976-1978 to 0% in 2003-2013, that is, over a 30-year period. In addition, the optimal BMI for lowest all-cause mortality increased by 3.3 from 23.7 in 1976-1978 through 24.6 in 1991-1994 to 27 in 2003-2013. Another interesting finding in this study is that the optimal BMI in relation to lowest mortality is placed in the overweight category in the most recent 2003-2013 cohort. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, University Texas, Weight Research / 11.05.2016 Interview with: Sanghamitra Mohanty, MD MS FHRS Director, translational research, Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute and Associate Professor (affiliate) Dell Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mohanty:  In the last few years, several trials from a research group in Australia have generated tremendous interest in life-style modifications to manage AF more effectively. These studies reported significant decrease in arrhythmia burden and symptom severity and improvement in ablation outcome in patients with paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation. We investigated the impact of weight-loss on procedure outcome in terms of arrhythmia burden, quality of life and arrhythmia-free survival in long-standing persistent (LSPAF) patients undergoing catheter ablation. Our main findings were the following;
  1. In patients with long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation, weight loss improved quality of life but had no impact on symptom burden and long-term ablation outcome
  2. No change in AF type or status was detected after the weight loss
  3. Extensive ablation including pulmonary vein (PV) isolation plus ablation of posterior wall and non-PV triggers resulted in comparable outcome in both groups at 1-year follow-up, irrespective of weight-loss interventions (63.8% vs 59.3%, p=0.68).
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 10.05.2016 Interview with: Atul Sharma MD, MSc(Statistics), FRCPC Researcher, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba; Senior Consultant, Biostatistics Group, George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sharma: Between 1978 and 2004, a previous comparison of directly measured heights and weights demonstrated an alarming increase in the prevalence of overweight or obesity in Canadian children aged 2-17y, from 23.3% (95% CI = 20.5-26.0) to 34.7% (33.0-36.4) based on the new 2007 WHO criteria. In Canada, the definitions of overweight and obesity changed with the introduction of the new '2010 WHO Growth Charts for Canada’, Previous definitions were based on Body Mass Index (BMI) percentiles from the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth chart’s. In addition to revising the percentile thresholds for diagnosing overweight or obesity, the WHO charts were based on a very different reference population. As a result, the proportion of Canadian children being classified as overweight or obese increased with the introduction of the new WHO charts. Our current study applied current Canadian definitions of overweight and obesity to a contemporary sample of Canadian children age 3-19y to assess recent trends in the rates of overweight and obesity. By pooling data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS, cycle 2.2) and the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS, cycles 2 and 3), we were able to study a representative sample of more than 14000 Canadian children from the period 2004-2013.  The sample was evenly split between boys and girls and approximately 80% white. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Weight Research / 02.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Corby K. Martin PhD Department/Laboratory: Ingestive Behavior Laboratory Director for Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology Pennington Biomedical Research Lab Baton Rouge, LA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Martin: We know that calorie restriction extends the lifespan of many species and in humans calorie restriction or dieting might extend our healthspan, which is the length of time that we are free of disease. It is possible that more healthy weight or mildly overweight people might calorie restrict to improve their health, and one concern is the possible negative effects of calorie restriction on the quality of life of these individuals. This study tested if 2 years of calorie restriction affected a number of quality of life measures compared to a group that did not calorie restrict and ate their usual diet and did not lose weight. People who enrolled in the study were normal weight to mildly overweight. The study found that calorie restriction improved mood, reduced tension and improved general health and sexual drive and relationship (a measure of sexual function) over two years. Further, the more weight that people lost, the greater their improvement in quality of life. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Inflammation, Prostate Cancer, Weight Research / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Charnita Zeigler-Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor Division of Population Sciences Department of Medical Oncology Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA 19107 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: Obesity has been associated with poor prostate cancer outcomes, included advanced disease at diagnosis, increased risk for cancer recurrence, and risk for mortality. One possible link in the relationship between obesity and prostate cancer progression is inflammation. Obesity produces a state of systemic chronic low-grade inflammation which may contribute to the underlying biology of the tumor microenvironment. The presence of immune cells (T-cells and macrophages) in the tumor microenvironment may indicate aggressive tumors that are likely to metastasize. The goal of this study was to examine prostate cancer tissue to characterize differences in immune cells within the tumor microenvironment by obesity status and cancer severity. We studied tumor samples from 63 non-obese and 36 obese prostate cancer patients. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Zeigler-Johnson: We found that T-cell and macrophage counts in the tumor did not differ by patient obesity status. However, macrophage (CD68) counts were higher among men diagnosed with higher tumor grade (Gleason Score 7-10). We also found that T-cell (CD8) counts were associated with quicker time to prostate cancer recurrence (indicated by detectable prostate specific antigen levels after treatment.) (more…)
Author Interviews, Weight Research / 15.04.2016 Interview with: Keigo Saeki, MD, PhD Nara Medical University School of Medicine Nara, Japan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cold exposure causes higher blood pressure and higher coagulation status, and it may be a trigger of higher mortality from cardiovascular diseases in winter. In contrast, cold exposure may have preventive effect on obesity. Recent study found that most of human have brown adipose tissue (BAT) which play an important role in thermogenesis and in the regulation of body weight. Cold exposure activates thermogenesis in BAT, and increase energy expenditure. However, in real life situation, the association between the amount of cold exposure and obesity stays unclear. The HEIJO-KYO study is a community based study to investigate association between housing environment and health. We found that people living in colder housing environment showed lower abdominal circumference in simple correlation and even after adjustment for physical activity, total energy intake, and socioeconomic status. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pain Research, Surgical Research, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 06.04.2016 Interview with: Wendy King, PhD Associate Professor of Epidemiology Epidemiology Data Center, Room 105 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15213 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. King: Severe obesity is associated with significant joint pain and impaired physical function, such as difficulty bending, lifting carrying and walking. Excess weight can lead to joint damage and accompanying pain, resulting in activity restriction and walking limitations. Obesity can also contribute to pain and physical limitations through factors such as impaired cardiorespiratory function, systematic inflammation, reduced flexibility, low strength per body mass, and depression.  Previous studies have reported significant improvements in mean values of bodily and joint specific pain, physical function, and walking capacity in the first 3-12 months following RYGB or LAGB. However, very few studies have examined the variability in response to surgery or reported on longer-term follow-up of these procedures. My colleagues and I followed 2,221 patients participating in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2, a large NIH-funded prospective study of adults with severe obesity undergoing weight-loss surgery at one of 10 hospitals across the U.S. Through three years of follow-up, approximately 50 to 70 % of patients who underwent bariatric surgery reported clinically important improvements in bodily pain, physical function and usual walking speed. About three-quarters of the participants with symptoms indicative of osteoarthritis before surgery experienced improvements in knee and hip pain and function. In addition, over half of participants who had a mobility deficit prior to surgery did not post-surgery. Several baseline characteristics such as younger age, male sex, higher household income, lower body mass index, fewer depressive symptoms and no history of diabetes or venous edema with ulcerations, were associated with a higher chance of improvement in pain and physical function following surgery. In addition, pre- to post-surgery reductions in weight and depressive symptoms, and remission of diabetes and venous edema with ulcerations were associated with pre- to post-surgery improvements. Thus, our findings reinforce results from shorter-term studies by addressing the durability or response and expand our understanding of the variability in response, and what factors are related to chance of improvement. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 04.04.2016 Interview with: Ana Priscila Soggia Sirio Libanes Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many years, bariatric surgery is performed to treat class II and III obesity with diabetes remission in 80-90% of cases, related to weight loss and change in the secretion of intestinal factors that control blood glucose, like GLP-1 and GIP. In 2010, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), proposed that diabetic patients with BMI between 30-35kg/m2 could be eligible, for bariatric surgery, in the case of no glycemic control with drug treatment. In this context, once glycemic control after bariatric surgery, was not related only to weight loss and also due to intestinal factors with physiological actions, the protocol was proposed. The objectives were to compare the clinical and surgical treatment in diabetics patients with class I obesity; and to compare the efficacy and security between two different surgical techniques. This study was developed and conducted by a research team from Sirio-Libanês Hospital in partnership with Ministry of Health through its philanthropic program PROADI. It is a clinical trial, with 42 class I obese diabetic type 2 patients with inadequate glycemic control that were randomized to tree arms: clinical treatment, gastric bypass surgery or sleeve with ileal transposition (sleeve-IT) surgery. The results showed that the sleeve-IT procedure is more effective for the treatment of diabetes in these patients compared with treatment with medication and with bypass surgery, currently considered the first choice of treatment. Among patients who underwent sleeve-IT, 100% achieved glycemic control after 1 year (HbA1c<6,5%) compared to 46% for bypass and 8% in the case of medication therapy. In addition, diabetes remission, that was defined as adequate glycemic control without any anti-diabetic medication, occured in 75% of sleeve-IT patients had versus 30% in bypass group. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Weight Research / 03.04.2016 Interview with: Olivia Farr, Ph.D. Instructor in Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 330 Brookline Ave, Stoneman 820B Boston, MA 02215 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Farr: There are two main studies. In the first, we used immunohistochemistry to analyze 22 human brain tissue samples for the presence of GLP-1 receptors, which are protein molecules that respond to the GLP hormone’s signal. We found—for the first time—that GLP-1 receptors are expressed in the human brain, including the cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher thought. Our second study was performed in 18 adults with type 2 diabetes. Participants received 17 days of either liraglutide, up to 1.8 milligrams, or a placebo (dummy drug) in a random order. Then after a three-week “washout” of no medication, the same participants received 17 days of the opposite treatment. Participants and investigators were unaware which treatment they received. On day 17 of each treatment, participants underwent brain scanning with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). During fMRI, participants viewed images of different foods. In response to highly desirable foods such as cake, pastries and fried foods, liraglutide decreased reward- and salience-related brain activations in the cortex compared with images of less desirable foods, such as fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie, low-fat foods.​ (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Weight Research / 18.02.2016 Interview with: Dr. Mark A Green PhD Department of Geography & Planning University of Liverpool Liverpool UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Green: Previous research on trends in body mass index (BMI) have focused on changes in the middle value (average BMI). We extended this investigation by exploring trends both in the middle (using the median – the mid-point of BMI values), the 5th centile (the BMI value at which bottom 5% of the population with the lowest BMIs fall below) and the 95th centile (the BMI value at which the top 5% of the population with the highest BMIs fall above) to examine how trends have changed both in the middle, and at the top and bottom of the distribution. We found that median BMI increased in England in the 1990s, before beginning to slow its rate of change. This is contrary to the 95th centile which has continued to increase at a higher rate throughout the period, with little change in the 5th centile. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 16.02.2016 Interview with: Katherine Bowers, PhD, MPH Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Cincinnati Children's Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Bowers: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 68 children and the prevalence continues to rise. Past studies have suggested that conditions experienced by women during pregnancy (for example, obesity and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)) may be associated with having a child with ASD. We collected medical record data from patients who resided in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s primary catchment area and linked those data to data from birth certificates to identify metabolic risk factors. Two comparison groups were analyzed; one with developmental disabilities; and the other, controls without a reported ASD or other developmental disability. Descriptive statistics and regression analyses evaluated differences. We found that maternal obesity and  gestational diabetes mellitus were associated with an increased risk of Autism spectrum disorder in the offspring; however, no difference in risk of Autism spectrum disorder according to BMI and GDM was seen when comparing to the group with other developmental disabilities. The strongest observed association was the joint effect of obesity and GDM (compared to neither obesity nor GDM) :OR=2.53 (95% CI: 1.72, 3.73). (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, Weight Research / 29.01.2016 Interview with: Monica L. Bertoia, MPH, PhD Instructor in Medicine, Channing Division of Network Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School Research Associate, Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Most weight loss studies have focused on one type of flavonoid, the flavan-3-ols found in green tea, and are limited to small numbers of overweight and obese study participants. We examined 7 subclasses of flavonoids and weight change in 124,086 healthy adults who reported their diet and weight repeatedly over up to 24 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nature, NYU, Weight Research / 28.10.2015 Interview with: Dr. Margaret E. Rice, PhD Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology Neurosurgery NYU Langone Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rice: Insulin is released from the pancreas into the bloodstream in response to a rise in circulating glucose levels when we eat. In most cells in the body, including those of liver and muscle, insulin acts at insulin receptors to promote glucose transport and other metabolic functions. Insulin also enters the brain and acts at brain insulin receptors, particularly in the hypothalamus where insulin acts as a satiety signal to indicate that we are full and should stop eating. The rising incidence of obesity, in which circulating insulin levels are chronically elevated, suggests insulin may play a role in other brain regions, as well, including regions that regulate motivation and reward. Indeed, our new studies introduce a new role for insulin as a reward signal that acts in the dorsal striatum to enhance release of dopamine.  Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter in reward systems; most drugs of abuse enhance release of dopamine, which contributes to their addictive properties. We found that insulin, at levels found in the brain by the end of a meal, enhances dopamine release by activating insulin receptors on acetylcholine-containing striatal cells that boost dopamine release. Consistent with a role of insulin in signaling reward, companion behavioral studies in rodents indicate that insulin signaling in the striatum communicates the reward value of an ingested meal, and thereby influences food choices. These studies reveal the dual nature of insulin in the brain, which not only tells us when to stop eating, but also influences what we eat. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nature, UT Southwestern, Weight Research / 01.10.2013

Philipp E. Scherer, PhD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine Gifford O. Touchstone Jr. and Randolph G. Touchstone Distinguished Chair in Diabetes Research Director, Touchstone Diabetes Center The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center 5323 Harry Hines Blvd. Dallas, TX Interview with: Philipp E. Scherer, PhD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine Director, Touchstone Diabetes Center The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 75390-8549 What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Scherer: This is the first study that tracks the emergence of new fat cells in response to various physiological stimuli, such as high fat diet and cold exposure.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Menopause, Weight Research / 28.03.2013 Interview with  Dr. Sylvia Santosa, PhD Department of Exercise Science Concordia University Department of Exercise Science Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4B 1R6Dr. Sylvia Santosa, PhD Department of Exercise Science Concordia University Department of Exercise Science Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4B 1R6 What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Santosa: Our results show that postmenopausal women burn less fat making more available to be stored.  Our results also suggest that greater fat storage in postmenopausal women are likely to be attributed to changes in the pathways our fat cells use to store fat.  We found that some of the proteins that help our fat cells store fat were more active and this greater activity corresponded with the amount of fat stored from our circulation. (more…)