Obese

Novel Approach to Accelerate Metabolism Could Lead to New Obesity Treatment

Body.Overweight.Obese2By manipulating a biochemical process that underlies cells’ energy-burning abilities, investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have made a novel discovery that could lead to a new therapy to combat obesity and diabetes. Published in the journal Nature, the new findings show that reducing the amount of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) protein in fat and liver dramatically reduces the development of obesity and diabetes in mice.

“With this discovery, we now have a means of metabolic manipulation that could help speed energy production and lead to weight loss,” explains senior author Barbara Kahn, MD, Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at BIDMC and George Richards Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Our findings are particularly exciting because the antisense oligonucleotide [ASO] technology we used to inhibit the NNMT gene in our study is already being used to treat other diseases in humans.”

The new findings hinge on a biochemical mechanism known as a futile cycle, in which cellular reactions are sped up, thereby generating more energy. “We all know people who can seemingly eat whatever they want and not gain weight,” explains Kahn. “Part of the reason for this natural weight control owes to basal cellular metabolism – the body’s inherent rate of burning energy. A futile cycle is one way to speed up energy utilization in cells.”

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Source: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “Novel approach to accelerate metabolism could lead to new obesity treatment.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2014.

Like Obesity, Being Underweight is Also Tied to Earlier Death

Body.Overweight.Obese2A new Canadian review of research on the relationship between weight and risk of premature death finds that having a body mass index in the underweight range is linked to an even higher risk of death than having a body mass index in the obese range.

Led by Dr. Joel Ray, a physician-researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, the review is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

In their review, Dr. Ray and colleagues found that adults with a BMI classed as underweight (under 18.50 or less) had a 1.8 times higher risk of dying from any cause than adults with a BMI classed as normal. This was even higher than for people classed as obese.

For people with a BMI in the range 30.00 to 34.99 (obese), the risk of dying was 1.2 times higher than that of people with BMI classed as normal, and for those with a BMI higher than 35.00 (severely obese), the risk was 1.3 times higher.

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Source: Medical News Today.