07 March 2018

Losing weight on the couch

In the US, drugs designed to fight obesity without physical loads are being tested

Ilya Vedmedenko, Naked Science

Obesity risks becoming one of the main problems of humanity in the XXI century. However, it is already causing huge damage to people's health. Many countries cannot yet boast of any significant success in the fight against this problem. Suffice it to recall that in Mexico, as of 2008, about 70% of all residents suffer from overweight, and 32% from obesity. Approximately the same number of people (out of the total population) live with obesity in the United States and Syria. Residents of Libya and Venezuela are very susceptible to this problem, and by 2025, according to experts, almost 20% of the world's population will suffer from obesity.

It is not surprising that scientists have been trying to overcome this problem for many years. The situation is aggravated by the fact that some of those suffering from obesity cannot exercise due to their health condition. New research can help in this case. Now specialists from the Salk Institute for Biological Research are testing substances that have about the same effect on the human body as physical exercise. These compounds are designated as 516 and 14.

With the help of the drug 516, genes that promote fat burning in muscle cells are activated. At the same time, the use of compound 14 promotes the breakdown of carbohydrates by cells for energy production. Activation of these metabolic pathways in the human body can also occur naturally, but in this case it will be necessary to resort to physical exertion. 

Scientists hope to use the first of the drugs in the case of Duchenne myodystrophy. This is a genetic disease that is characterized by difficulty in movement and muscle weakness: all these symptoms progress over time. Compound 516 is also hoped to be used in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's chorea.

In turn, the drug 14 can help with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. An experiment on mice showed that the use of the compound leads to an improvement in the body's susceptibility to glucose and a decrease in the body weight of the creatures. The scientists plan to conduct clinical tests later. 

Earlier, we recall, another group of scientists identified the generation most prone to obesity. As it turned out, the biggest risk in the UK is the so–called "millennials" - people who were born in the period from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s.

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