Monday, December 20, 2010

Top 100 Stories of 2010 #8: Obesity Reaches Epidemic Proportions

On the research front, meanwhile, investigators are making some progress in grasping obesity’s causes. A provocative study published in Science in April 2010 suggests that a change in the bacterial population of the gut contributes to the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by elevated weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood fat. Researchers led by Emory University pathologist Andrew Gewirtz found that mice genetically deficient in an immune system receptor have altered gut bacteria, eat more than normal mice do, and develop features of metabolic syndrome. However, Gewirtz says it is “unlikely that there will be a single causative bacterium for obesity as there 
is for ulcers.”

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