Friday, June 28, 2013

More Weight Loss Therapies from Bariatric Surgery

In a recent Blog post, entitled "Knowing How Bariatric Surgery Causes Weight Loss Can Lead to Beneficial Therapies," we discussed weight loss therapies that were coming out of studies motivated by bariatric surgical findings. We stated that "investigation into how bariatric surgery causes weight loss and other positive changes in the body would be beneficial in helping experts develop multiple therapies for treating obesity."   
We talked about a study that shows that gastric bypass surgery seems to cause a replacement of fattening bacteria with slimming bacteria.  Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University performed studies with mice and confirmed that there were more slimming bacteria in the gut in mice after the surgery than fattening bacteria. That research results may lead to non-invasive weight loss or weight management approaches.
And a procedure called bile diversion or BD, derived from research coming out of gastric bypass surgery, may lead to a non-invasive treatment for conditions associated with obesity. "Scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center used a catheter to re-direct the flow of bile [in rats] from the bile duct into the small intestine, producing the same metabolic and weight-loss benefits as bariatric surgeries such as gastric by-pass."
Researchers don't fully understand why the bile diversion works. Indeed, researchers don't fully understand how gastric bypass surgery produces some of the post surgical benefits that it produces. More research is required. Still,  researchers hope to eventually develop therapies that engender many of the positive results that bariatric surgery produces,  in humans, without the surgery.
Bariatric surgery is an extremely useful weight loss treatment. Non-invasive weight loss methods, including obesity drugs, diet, exercise and lifestyle modification, don't generally accomplish the weight loss that surgery does.  However, bariatric surgery has more related complications than non surgical methods. That's why it's fortunate that experts are exploring therapeutic options that mimic bariatric surgery results while minimizing the associated complications. Some of these options might eventually prove to be good weight loss approaches.
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Monday, June 17, 2013

Obesity and Inflammation

When a person suffers from some infection, the body's immune system fights the infection. In the fight, the body will often cause affected areas to become inflamed. And once the body has won the fight against the infection, the immune system no longer needs to fight the infection, and the inflammation goes away. However, sometimes the inflammation stays too long and this causes a problem for the body. Overweight and obesity are conditions that can cause inflammation. And if the overweight and obesity are long term, they will cause long term, harmful, inflammation.

In cases where the inflammation lingers too long, the inflammation becomes a chronic condition, and does harm to the body. The "immune response has not been turned off so your immune system is running out of control, releasing pro-inflammatory immune cells when they’re not needed anymore. These excess immune cells floating around your body can cause all kinds of damage to your health if left unchecked. Your body is essentially in constant defense mode and this extra stress is very detrimental to your health."

"In overweight mice and humans the fat cells, or adipocytes, are issuing false distress signals -- they are not under attack by pathogens. But this still sends local immune cells into a tizzy, and that causes inflammation."

Overweight and obese persons can suffer from many unhealthy conditions. And a number of these conditions may be linked to inflammation. The conditions overweight and obese persons can suffer from include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and some forms of cancer.

As we learn more about how being overweight or obese can cause inflammation, therapies can be devised to target the inflammation, and minimize the effects of the overweight and obesity. Of course, we want to fight the overweight and obesity, but learning how to treat the inflammation may be a viable research target.

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