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Obesity

Scientists have discovered a protein that activates brown fat (pictured) in mice (Image: T...

For most of us fighting the battle of the bulge, fat is an enemy that must be reigned in to a healthier – and less noticeable – level. But there are actually two types of fat – or adipose tissue – found in mammals, white and brown. While white fat stores calories and is the culprit behind love handles, brown fat’s primary function is to generate heat to keep the body warm through the burning of fats in a process known as thermogenesis. Therefore, the ability to activate brown fat in the body could provide a means to fight obesity and keep the weight off. Now scientists have discovered a protein that could allow them to do just that.  Read More

Assistant professor Kee-Hong Kim from Purdue University is testing a compound that is comm...

Researchers from Purdue University in Indiana are testing a compound found in red wine that has the ability to block the processes of fat cell development. The research into the compound known as piceatannol may lead towards finding a simple method to combat obesity.  Read More

VirtualDose utilizes computer models of different body types to advise physicians on which...

X-ray computed tomography – or CT – scanners are designed with people of an average build in mind. When obese patients require a CT scan, the additional layers of body fat will produce blurry images if the scanner’s regular settings are used. Clinicians typically address this problem by turning up the power of the scanner. Unfortunately, doing so results in overweight patients receiving higher-than-normal doses of radiation. A new computer modeling system developed at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, however, could help bring those levels down.  Read More

Specially-treated fat cells may one day lead to weight loss

Though it's long been known that there are two forms of fat or adipose tissue, white, which stores calories, and brown, which burns them for energy and warmth, figuring out how to safely create more of the desirable brown type has remained elusive. In an ideal world, there'd simply be a switch one could flip to convert white fat into brown and obesity would eventually become a thing of the past. Now, UC San Francisco (UCSF) Diabetes Center brown fat researcher Shingo Kajimura and his team have made a discovery that leads them to believe they've found that switch and one day, it just may lead to the long-sought solution for human obesity.  Read More

Potentially, if turned into a viable drug, irisin could induce the benefits of a workout w...

A group of researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, led by Bruce Spiegelman and Pontus Boström, have discovered a hormone that mimics some of the results of a workout by facilitating the transformation of white fat into brown fat. While the purpose of the former is to accumulate excess calories, the latter is used to produce heat. Irisin, named after the Greek goddess Iris, could one day help address obesity and diabetes. However, there is still a long way to go before the hormone is made into an actual drug.  Read More

eButton is a prototype device that tracks the caloric value of users' meals, along with th...

Are you trying to lose weight, but don't like keeping track of your food intake? Well, there may or may not be an app for that, but there is a button. An eButton, to be precise. That's the name of a wearable device developed at the University of Pittsburgh, that incorporates a camera, accelerometer, GPS, and other sensors. These all work together to maintain a profile of not only what the user is eating, but also how much exercise they're getting, how much time they spend sitting around, and other factors that can affect weight gain.  Read More

Lupin seed proteins are being used to create low-fat alternative ingredients for use in da...

There are definitely two schools of thought as to whether or not humans should have meat in their diet, but even many non-vegetarians claim that the production and consumption of animal protein could definitely stand to at least be scaled back, both for environmental and health reasons. It has been estimated that it takes 40 square meters (48 sq. yards) of land to produce one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of meat, while 120 kilograms (265 lbs) of carrots or 80 kilograms (176 lbs) of apples could be raised within that same space. Obesity and cardiovascular disease, meanwhile, have been linked to high-fat diets – diets which often include things like sausages and hamburgers. With concerns like these in mind, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging have developed food ingredients derived from lupin seed proteins, that can reportedly stand in quite convincingly for both milk and animal fat.  Read More

The Body Volume Index uses a 3D scanning process to analyze fat distribution

Currently, if healthcare practitioners are trying to determine how overweight a patient is, they use the Body Mass Index, or BMI. Invented in the mid-1800s, the BMI is an international standard formula for establishing ideal body weight which involves dividing a person’s weight by the square of their height. A group of international researchers, however, are proposing that the BMI be replaced with a more detailed system, the Body Volume Index, or BVI. Using a 3D white-light scanner, the BVI identifies where the fat is distributed on a patient’s body, and how that compares to what’s normal.  Read More

Coolsculpting removes fat cells through targeted cooling

Medical device company ZELTIQ has developed a safe procedure to deliver clinically proven results that could potentially say goodbye to “love handles”. Developed at the Wellman Center of Photomedecine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Coolsculpting is a method that freezes unwanted fat cells and removes them permanently without invasive surgery. After a series of clinical trials and evidence from ultrasound and histological results, Coolsculpting has recently been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is targeted for those who are not considered to be clinically overweight but may carry pockets of unwanted fat in areas of their body which have not responded to diet or exercise.  Read More

A medical student from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is shown testing the new hapti...

Laparoscopic gastric banding is a common surgical treatment for morbid obesity and the most critical factor in the success of the operation lies in the hands of the surgeon - who needs the proficiency and skill to insert slender, handheld tools into the body of the patient. A team of interdisciplinary researchers, led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has recently won a US$2.3 million federal grant to develop a touch-sensitive virtual reality simulator that will realistically replicate how performing a gastric band operation feels - making it ideal for developing and teaching fundamental surgical skills and for assessing physicians wanting to be certified as a laparoscopic surgeon.  Read More

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