Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nature’s answer to obesity crisis

16.06.2005


Brown bears, squirrels, bats and frogs could hold the key to why western populations are facing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, according to professor of medicine Peter Grant. If his theory is proven, it will “completely change the view of diabetes and its cause.”



By 2025, 300 million people worldwide will suffer from type 2 diabetes, up to 85 per cent of whom will die of related heart disease. The condition, associated with obesity, develops when the body’s fat cells secrete proteins involved in both cardiovascular disease and the development of insulin resistance, preventing the body from using glucose as an energy source.

Professor Grant, director of the University’s new £10m Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (LIGHT), believes the body wouldn’t become resistant to insulin action and hoard fat in this way without a reason. “It’s a physiological process so there must be some kind of benefit,” he said. “The question is, under what circumstances?” When the body’s fat cells – or adipocytes – become full, they send messages to the brain to slow down and conserve energy. There is one circumstance where these responses are vital – animal hibernation.


He suggests that animals have a basic metabolic response that stores energy and develops insulin resistance in preparation for deprivation, usually during long winter months. In hibernating animals, this response is accompanied by prolonged periods of torpor, but in humans and other animals seasonal variations in light and food are critical in regulating energy utilisation, even though man probably never formally hibernated.

What has changed for man is that we now have constant supplies of food and light. As a result, whilst hibernating animals become insulin resistant to conserve energy in response to fat storage for the winter, then lose it during hibernation, we just continue to put on weight. “We have fractured our relationship with our environment – we no longer respond to seasons and we don’t have a fluctuating food supply. As a result we get obese and what should be a short term protective response to help us over winter becomes chronic, harmful and leads to diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” he said.

The theory will be tested in the LIGHT and could give important insights into potential treatments. “If we could identify the genes analogous to those in hibernating animals there is the real potential to develop novel targets for the prevention and treatment of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

Hannah Love | alfa
Further information:
http://reporter.leeds.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>