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    • Seems like a lot of us suffer from being overweight. Here is some data that might be a bit comforting.

      "Along with a team of researchers, Ann Marie Schmidt, an endocrinologist at the New York University School of Medicine, has been unraveling the mystery. In a new study published today, Schmidt and her team have unlocked a molecular mechanism controlling weight gain and loss in mice: a protein that shuts down the animals’ ability to burn fat in times of bodily stress, including when dieting or overeating. This discovery might hold the key to understanding why it’s so hard for humans to lose weight, and even harder to keep it off."

      "In 1992, Schmidt was studying the complications of diabetes when she and her team made what she calls a startling discovery: Humans and other mammals have a protein on the surface of fat cells called the receptor for advanced glycation end products, or RAGE, which appeared to play previously unobserved roles in a host of the body’s metabolic and inflammatory responses. Eventually, it became clear that the protein was also present in nondiabetic tissues, which suggested RAGE had consequences far beyond just a few chronic diseases."

      "Although Schmidt cautions that the translation of her findings in mice into therapies for humans will be a long, careful process, she’s optimistic about the potential. In her new study, she found that the weight benefits of RAGE inactivity could be conferred on new animals simply by transplanting a relatively small amount of brown-fat tissue from mice that had had their RAGE pathway deleted into conventional mice. This holds promise for future treatments for patients with metabolic and chronic inflammatory disorders."

    • Hmm I think as the subtitle of the article suggests, certainly lack of willpower is an oversimplification of the struggles people have to lose weight, but so too would be this single protein!

      We have a lot more knowledge about how to achieve and maintain a healthy bodyweight than we are currently implementing, so while it’s tempting to pursue a scientific solution that doesn’t require us to change what we eat, I think that’s unrealistic. 🤷🏼‍♀️

      I also have concerns around *what* we eat, not just the number of calories. A desire to lose weight may cause some people to re-evaluate their soda and burger habit, which is a positive thing regardless of what the scale says. If there’s a backdoor to a lighter weight that doesn’t involve broccoli then our public health crisis around cancer and heart disease could worsen because the potential short term gain (losing weight) of healthier diet choices would be lessened. Unfortunately, we aren’t so good at making choices with the long term in mind.