Tag Archives: could

Body’s ‘bad fat’ could be altered to combat obesity, say scientists

“Bad fat” could be made to turn over a new leaf and combat obesity by blocking a specific protein, scientists have discovered.

Most fat in the body is unhealthy “white” tissue deposited around the waist, hips and thighs. But smaller amounts of energy-hungry “brown” fat are also found around the neck and shoulders. Brown fat generates heat by burning up excess calories.

Now scientists experimenting on lab mice have found a way to transform white fat into “beige” fat – a healthier halfway stage also capable of reducing weight gain.

Dr Irfan Lodhi, from Washington University School of Medicine in the US, said: “Our goal is to find a way to treat or prevent obesity. “Our research suggests that by targeting a protein in white fat, we can convert bad fat into a type of fat that fights obesity.”

Beige fat was discovered in adults in 2015 and shown to function in a similar way to brown fat. Lodhi’s team found that blocking a protein called PexRAP caused white fat in mice to be converted to beige fat that burned calories.

The discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports, raises the prospect of more effective treatments for obesity and diabetes. The next step will be to find a safe way of blocking PexRAP in white fat cells in humans.

Lodhi said: “The challenge will be finding safe ways to do that without causing a person to overheat or develop a fever, but drug developers now have a good target.”

Body’s ‘bad fat’ could be altered to combat obesity, say scientists

“Bad fat” could be made to turn over a new leaf and combat obesity by blocking a specific protein, scientists have discovered.

Most fat in the body is unhealthy “white” tissue deposited around the waist, hips and thighs. But smaller amounts of energy-hungry “brown” fat are also found around the neck and shoulders. Brown fat generates heat by burning up excess calories.

Now scientists experimenting on lab mice have found a way to transform white fat into “beige” fat – a healthier halfway stage also capable of reducing weight gain.

Dr Irfan Lodhi, from Washington University School of Medicine in the US, said: “Our goal is to find a way to treat or prevent obesity. “Our research suggests that by targeting a protein in white fat, we can convert bad fat into a type of fat that fights obesity.”

Beige fat was discovered in adults in 2015 and shown to function in a similar way to brown fat. Lodhi’s team found that blocking a protein called PexRAP caused white fat in mice to be converted to beige fat that burned calories.

The discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports, raises the prospect of more effective treatments for obesity and diabetes. The next step will be to find a safe way of blocking PexRAP in white fat cells in humans.

Lodhi said: “The challenge will be finding safe ways to do that without causing a person to overheat or develop a fever, but drug developers now have a good target.”

Body’s ‘bad fat’ could be altered to combat obesity, say scientists

“Bad fat” could be made to turn over a new leaf and combat obesity by blocking a specific protein, scientists have discovered.

Most fat in the body is unhealthy “white” tissue deposited around the waist, hips and thighs. But smaller amounts of energy-hungry “brown” fat are also found around the neck and shoulders. Brown fat generates heat by burning up excess calories.

Now scientists experimenting on lab mice have found a way to transform white fat into “beige” fat – a healthier halfway stage also capable of reducing weight gain.

Dr Irfan Lodhi, from Washington University School of Medicine in the US, said: “Our goal is to find a way to treat or prevent obesity. “Our research suggests that by targeting a protein in white fat, we can convert bad fat into a type of fat that fights obesity.”

Beige fat was discovered in adults in 2015 and shown to function in a similar way to brown fat. Lodhi’s team found that blocking a protein called PexRAP caused white fat in mice to be converted to beige fat that burned calories.

The discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports, raises the prospect of more effective treatments for obesity and diabetes. The next step will be to find a safe way of blocking PexRAP in white fat cells in humans.

Lodhi said: “The challenge will be finding safe ways to do that without causing a person to overheat or develop a fever, but drug developers now have a good target.”

Body’s ‘bad fat’ could be altered to combat obesity, say scientists

“Bad fat” could be made to turn over a new leaf and combat obesity by blocking a specific protein, scientists have discovered.

Most fat in the body is unhealthy “white” tissue deposited around the waist, hips and thighs. But smaller amounts of energy-hungry “brown” fat are also found around the neck and shoulders. Brown fat generates heat by burning up excess calories.

Now scientists experimenting on lab mice have found a way to transform white fat into “beige” fat – a healthier halfway stage also capable of reducing weight gain.

Dr Irfan Lodhi, from Washington University School of Medicine in the US, said: “Our goal is to find a way to treat or prevent obesity. “Our research suggests that by targeting a protein in white fat, we can convert bad fat into a type of fat that fights obesity.”

Beige fat was discovered in adults in 2015 and shown to function in a similar way to brown fat. Lodhi’s team found that blocking a protein called PexRAP caused white fat in mice to be converted to beige fat that burned calories.

The discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports, raises the prospect of more effective treatments for obesity and diabetes. The next step will be to find a safe way of blocking PexRAP in white fat cells in humans.

Lodhi said: “The challenge will be finding safe ways to do that without causing a person to overheat or develop a fever, but drug developers now have a good target.”

Body’s ‘bad fat’ could be altered to combat obesity, say scientists

“Bad fat” could be made to turn over a new leaf and combat obesity by blocking a specific protein, scientists have discovered.

Most fat in the body is unhealthy “white” tissue deposited around the waist, hips and thighs. But smaller amounts of energy-hungry “brown” fat are also found around the neck and shoulders. Brown fat generates heat by burning up excess calories.

Now scientists experimenting on lab mice have found a way to transform white fat into “beige” fat – a healthier halfway stage also capable of reducing weight gain.

Dr Irfan Lodhi, from Washington University School of Medicine in the US, said: “Our goal is to find a way to treat or prevent obesity. “Our research suggests that by targeting a protein in white fat, we can convert bad fat into a type of fat that fights obesity.”

Beige fat was discovered in adults in 2015 and shown to function in a similar way to brown fat. Lodhi’s team found that blocking a protein called PexRAP caused white fat in mice to be converted to beige fat that burned calories.

The discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports, raises the prospect of more effective treatments for obesity and diabetes. The next step will be to find a safe way of blocking PexRAP in white fat cells in humans.

Lodhi said: “The challenge will be finding safe ways to do that without causing a person to overheat or develop a fever, but drug developers now have a good target.”

Body’s ‘bad fat’ could be altered to combat obesity, say scientists

“Bad fat” could be made to turn over a new leaf and combat obesity by blocking a specific protein, scientists have discovered.

Most fat in the body is unhealthy “white” tissue deposited around the waist, hips and thighs. But smaller amounts of energy-hungry “brown” fat are also found around the neck and shoulders. Brown fat generates heat by burning up excess calories.

Now scientists experimenting on lab mice have found a way to transform white fat into “beige” fat – a healthier halfway stage also capable of reducing weight gain.

Dr Irfan Lodhi, from Washington University School of Medicine in the US, said: “Our goal is to find a way to treat or prevent obesity. “Our research suggests that by targeting a protein in white fat, we can convert bad fat into a type of fat that fights obesity.”

Beige fat was discovered in adults in 2015 and shown to function in a similar way to brown fat. Lodhi’s team found that blocking a protein called PexRAP caused white fat in mice to be converted to beige fat that burned calories.

The discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports, raises the prospect of more effective treatments for obesity and diabetes. The next step will be to find a safe way of blocking PexRAP in white fat cells in humans.

Lodhi said: “The challenge will be finding safe ways to do that without causing a person to overheat or develop a fever, but drug developers now have a good target.”

Multiple time-delayed drugs could be given in single injection, say scientists

Multiple injections for vaccinations could become a thing of the past, according to scientists who have developed an approach for delivering many doses of different substances in just one jab.

The technology involves encapsulating drugs or vaccines within tiny particles made of biodegradable polymers. Depending on their makeup, these polymers break down at different points in time, releasing their contents into the body.

Researchers say the approach could allow multiple vaccines to be delivered at once and remove the need for booster jabs. It may also prove handy in treatments for allergies, diabetes and even cancer where multiple injections are needed.

Researchers say it could prove valuable in developing countries, potentially allowing all childhood vaccines and their boosters to be given in one shot.

“One of the main limitations there is access to vaccines and the fact that you have to come back several times in order to get immunity from the pathogen,” said Ana Jaklenec, co-author of the research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “A child or a baby is usually seen once, sometime around the birth time by some sort of healthcare worker.”

Writing in the journal Science, Jaklenec and colleagues describe how they developed the novel technique using biodegradable polymers already approved for use in humans.

The process, they reveal, involves making tiny silicone moulds – rather like ice cube trays – into which the biodegradable polymers are pressed and removed to form an array of box-like structures, each about 400 micrometres across. These are then filled with the required drug or vaccine and allowed to dry.

A lid, made from the same polymer, is then lined up on top of each micro-box and the system is briefly heated to seal it and prevent the drug or vaccine from leaking out.

When injected into the body, the boxes remain sealed until the polymer disintegrates – an event which occurs rapidly, with the timing dependant on the makeup of the polymer itself.

vaccine graphic

“What’s novel here is that the sharpness of how quickly the drug releases from the particle and the fact there is no leakage at all from the particle until [then],” said Jaklenec.

To test the approach, the team injected mice with microparticles made from one of three different polymers, each filled with a fluorescent substance. Using imaging techniques, the fluorescent substance was seen to be released at about nine days, 20 days or 41 days, depending on the polymer used.

The team also produced microparticles filled with a polio vaccine and exposed them to an antibody test to see if the vaccine’s potency was affected by the heat sealing: no such problem was detected.

Finally, mice were injected with two sets of microparticles made from different polymers – one designed to break down after about one week and the other after about five weeks – with both containing a protein found in egg white. The animals’ immune response was tracked for 16 weeks.

The results reveal that the filled microparticles triggered a response greater than two regular injections of the same dose of protein spaced four weeks apart. Indeed, the response was on a par with that from two regular injections each with twice the dose – probably down to the microparticles themselves boosting the immune response.

The team say the approach could have myriad applications in medicine and beyond. “ You could use pH sensitive materials [or] you can fill with any type of drug, or therapeutic or sensing drug, so we think it has a lot more application than just vaccines,” said Jaklenec.

But, she added, challenges remain, not least that vaccines are normally stored in refrigerators: “[We] have to stabilise all of these vaccines in the body for a long period of time at elevated temperature,” she said.

Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford, was optimistic, although he noted it was early days.

“Technologies which allow slow or timed release of a dose and thus reduce the ‘needle burden’ of an immunisation programme without compromising protection would be welcomed by healthcare workers, parents and their offspring,” he said.

David Goldblatt, professor of vaccinology and immunology at University College London, said the approach was sophisticated.

But, he warned, hurdles remain, noting that it removed the chance to modify vaccines between doses and that there was no way to adjust the timing of vaccine release after injection. “We prefer to avoid immunising when you might have an active viral infection,” he said. “[What happens] if a child has malaria on the day that the [vaccine dose] is released automatically?”

Nevertheless, he said, the approach could prove revolutionary in helping children in developing countries to receive adequate vaccination. “It could be a game changer for that,” he said.

Multiple time-delayed drugs could be given in single injection, say scientists

Multiple injections for vaccinations could become a thing of the past, according to scientists who have developed an approach for delivering many doses of different substances in just one jab.

The technology involves encapsulating drugs or vaccines within tiny particles made of biodegradable polymers. Depending on their makeup, these polymers break down at different points in time, releasing their contents into the body.

Researchers say the approach could allow multiple vaccines to be delivered at once and remove the need for booster jabs. It may also prove handy in treatments for allergies, diabetes and even cancer where multiple injections are needed.

Researchers say it could prove valuable in developing countries, potentially allowing all childhood vaccines and their boosters to be given in one shot.

“One of the main limitations there is access to vaccines and the fact that you have to come back several times in order to get immunity from the pathogen,” said Ana Jaklenec, co-author of the research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “A child or a baby is usually seen once, sometime around the birth time by some sort of healthcare worker.”

Writing in the journal Science, Jaklenec and colleagues describe how they developed the novel technique using biodegradable polymers already approved for use in humans.

The process, they reveal, involves making tiny silicone moulds – rather like ice cube trays – into which the biodegradable polymers are pressed and removed to form an array of box-like structures, each about 400 micrometres across. These are then filled with the required drug or vaccine and allowed to dry.

A lid, made from the same polymer, is then lined up on top of each micro-box and the system is briefly heated to seal it and prevent the drug or vaccine from leaking out.

When injected into the body, the boxes remain sealed until the polymer disintegrates – an event which occurs rapidly, with the timing dependant on the makeup of the polymer itself.

vaccine graphic

“What’s novel here is that the sharpness of how quickly the drug releases from the particle and the fact there is no leakage at all from the particle until [then],” said Jaklenec.

To test the approach, the team injected mice with microparticles made from one of three different polymers, each filled with a fluorescent substance. Using imaging techniques, the fluorescent substance was seen to be released at about nine days, 20 days or 41 days, depending on the polymer used.

The team also produced microparticles filled with a polio vaccine and exposed them to an antibody test to see if the vaccine’s potency was affected by the heat sealing: no such problem was detected.

Finally, mice were injected with two sets of microparticles made from different polymers – one designed to break down after about one week and the other after about five weeks – with both containing a protein found in egg white. The animals’ immune response was tracked for 16 weeks.

The results reveal that the filled microparticles triggered a response greater than two regular injections of the same dose of protein spaced four weeks apart. Indeed, the response was on a par with that from two regular injections each with twice the dose – probably down to the microparticles themselves boosting the immune response.

The team say the approach could have myriad applications in medicine and beyond. “ You could use pH sensitive materials [or] you can fill with any type of drug, or therapeutic or sensing drug, so we think it has a lot more application than just vaccines,” said Jaklenec.

But, she added, challenges remain, not least that vaccines are normally stored in refrigerators: “[We] have to stabilise all of these vaccines in the body for a long period of time at elevated temperature,” she said.

Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford, was optimistic, although he noted it was early days.

“Technologies which allow slow or timed release of a dose and thus reduce the ‘needle burden’ of an immunisation programme without compromising protection would be welcomed by healthcare workers, parents and their offspring,” he said.

David Goldblatt, professor of vaccinology and immunology at University College London, said the approach was sophisticated.

But, he warned, hurdles remain, noting that it removed the chance to modify vaccines between doses and that there was no way to adjust the timing of vaccine release after injection. “We prefer to avoid immunising when you might have an active viral infection,” he said. “[What happens] if a child has malaria on the day that the [vaccine dose] is released automatically?”

Nevertheless, he said, the approach could prove revolutionary in helping children in developing countries to receive adequate vaccination. “It could be a game changer for that,” he said.

Multiple time-delayed drugs could be given in single injection, say scientists

Multiple injections for vaccinations could become a thing of the past, according to scientists who have developed an approach for delivering many doses of different substances in just one jab.

The technology involves encapsulating drugs or vaccines within tiny particles made of biodegradable polymers. Depending on their makeup, these polymers break down at different points in time, releasing their contents into the body.

Researchers say the approach could allow multiple vaccines to be delivered at once and remove the need for booster jabs. It may also prove handy in treatments for allergies, diabetes and even cancer where multiple injections are needed.

Researchers say it could prove valuable in developing countries, potentially allowing all childhood vaccines and their boosters to be given in one shot.

“One of the main limitations there is access to vaccines and the fact that you have to come back several times in order to get immunity from the pathogen,” said Ana Jaklenec, co-author of the research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “A child or a baby is usually seen once, sometime around the birth time by some sort of healthcare worker.”

Writing in the journal Science, Jaklenec and colleagues describe how they developed the novel technique using biodegradable polymers already approved for use in humans.

The process, they reveal, involves making tiny silicone moulds – rather like ice cube trays – into which the biodegradable polymers are pressed and removed to form an array of box-like structures, each about 400 micrometres across. These are then filled with the required drug or vaccine and allowed to dry.

A lid, made from the same polymer, is then lined up on top of each micro-box and the system is briefly heated to seal it and prevent the drug or vaccine from leaking out.

When injected into the body, the boxes remain sealed until the polymer disintegrates – an event which occurs rapidly, with the timing dependant on the makeup of the polymer itself.

vaccine graphic

“What’s novel here is that the sharpness of how quickly the drug releases from the particle and the fact there is no leakage at all from the particle until [then],” said Jaklenec.

To test the approach, the team injected mice with microparticles made from one of three different polymers, each filled with a fluorescent substance. Using imaging techniques, the fluorescent substance was seen to be released at about nine days, 20 days or 41 days, depending on the polymer used.

The team also produced microparticles filled with a polio vaccine and exposed them to an antibody test to see if the vaccine’s potency was affected by the heat sealing: no such problem was detected.

Finally, mice were injected with two sets of microparticles made from different polymers – one designed to break down after about one week and the other after about five weeks – with both containing a protein found in egg white. The animals’ immune response was tracked for 16 weeks.

The results reveal that the filled microparticles triggered a response greater than two regular injections of the same dose of protein spaced four weeks apart. Indeed, the response was on a par with that from two regular injections each with twice the dose – probably down to the microparticles themselves boosting the immune response.

The team say the approach could have myriad applications in medicine and beyond. “ You could use pH sensitive materials [or] you can fill with any type of drug, or therapeutic or sensing drug, so we think it has a lot more application than just vaccines,” said Jaklenec.

But, she added, challenges remain, not least that vaccines are normally stored in refrigerators: “[We] have to stabilise all of these vaccines in the body for a long period of time at elevated temperature,” she said.

Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection and immunity at the University of Oxford, was optimistic, although he noted it was early days.

“Technologies which allow slow or timed release of a dose and thus reduce the ‘needle burden’ of an immunisation programme without compromising protection would be welcomed by healthcare workers, parents and their offspring,” he said.

David Goldblatt, professor of vaccinology and immunology at University College London, said the approach was sophisticated.

But, he warned, hurdles remain, noting that it removed the chance to modify vaccines between doses and that there was no way to adjust the timing of vaccine release after injection. “We prefer to avoid immunising when you might have an active viral infection,” he said. “[What happens] if a child has malaria on the day that the [vaccine dose] is released automatically?”

Nevertheless, he said, the approach could prove revolutionary in helping children in developing countries to receive adequate vaccination. “It could be a game changer for that,” he said.

Moving every half hour could help limit effects of sedentary lifestyle, says study

Moving your body at least every half an hour could help to limit the harmful effects of desk jobs and other sedentary lifestyles, research has revealed.

The study found that both greater overall time spent inactive in a day, and longer periods of inactivity were linked to an increased risk of death.

“If you sit at work all day, if you sit at home a lot, then you should be really mindful of trying to take a break from your sitting habits as often as possible – at least every 30 minutes,” said Keith Diaz, co-author of the study from Columbia University Medical Center. “Even if you exercise, you still should be mindful of taking breaks and be moving throughout the day, because exercise is not enough to overcome the risks of sitting, and sitting in long bouts.”

Writing in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, Diaz and colleagues from seven US institutions describe how they kitted out nearly 8,000 individuals aged 45 or over from across the US with activity trackers between 2009 and 2013.

Each participant wore the fitness tracker for at least four days during a period of one week, with deaths of participants tracked until September 2015.

The results reveal that, on average, participants were inactive for 12.3 hours of a 16 hour waking day, with each period of inactivity lasting an average of 11.4 minutes.

After taking into account a host of factors including age, sex, education, smoking and high blood pressure, the team found that both the overall length of daily inactivity and the length of each bout of sedentary behaviour were linked to changes in the risk of death from any cause. The associations held even among participants undertaking moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Those who were inactive for 13.2 hours a day had a risk of death 2.6 times that of those spending less than 11.5 hours a day inactive, while those whose bouts of inactivity lasted on average 12.4 minutes or more had a risk of death almost twice that of those who were inactive for an average of less than 7.7 minutes at a time.

The team then looked at the interaction between the two measures of inactivity, finding the risk of death was greater for those who had both high overall levels of inactivity (12.5 hours a day or more) and long average bouts of sedentary behaviour (10 minutes or more), than for those who had high levels of just one of the measures.

“We were trying to understand what is the worst feature of a person’s sitting habits – is it how many hours a day you sit, or is it sitting in these long bouts,” said Diaz. “Unfortunately the message is more mixed … it looks like both are bad for you.”

Further analysis looking at how participants split up their stints of inactivity found that those who kept most of their bouts to under 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of death while the team also discovered that the longer, more frequent and more intense the breaks from inactivity the better.

While the study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and Coca-Cola, neither were involved in the research.

The latest study is not the first to probe the health impacts of prolonged periods of inactivity, but the team say their use of activity trackers is a step up as it does not rely on self-reporting, which is less accurate.

But, they note, the study does not show that inactivity causes death, and the tracker could not tell whether individuals were sitting or just standing still.

What’s more, factors such as smoking status and blood pressure were only captured once, and the activity trackers were only worn over one week, meaning that changes in the health or behaviour of participants over time was not taken into account.

Nevertheless, the team say the study underscores the need for individuals to take breaks from inactivity. “The longer the better, the more intense the better,” said Diaz.

Dr Mike Loosemore from the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, who was not involved in the research, said sedentary behaviour was contributing to increasing levels of obesity, adding that being more active did not require huge efforts.

“You can do simple things like stand up to answer the phone, maybe instead of getting a full glass of water from the kitchen get half a glass and then go twice as often,” he said. “Just simple things that every half hour give you an excuse to stand up and move around a bit.”