Monthly Archives: January 2014

Antipsychotic Drugs Linked to Microbiota in Obesity

Anti-psychotic medications are well-known to cause weight gain in both adults and children. First generation drugs as well as many popular second-generation can lead to considerable weight gain, often thrusting people of normal weight into obesity in less than a year. In addition, certain gut microbes—firmicutes– are associated with increased obesity. 

Could they be related?

 Researchers at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in the United States asked that question: is there a link between antipsychotic drugs targets and the microbiota? 

Results of their investigation? There were “strong associations between protein targets of antipsychotics and microbiota sequences directly related to weight regulation in human body.” Read the study here.

While this demands further study, the possibilities are promising. The weight gain associated with these drugs often leads patients into other obesity-related disorders, including diabetes. Good questions lead to good science.

Do Sweat It

Ever notice how some people at the gym perspire profusely while others barely break a sweat? People’s rates of “whole body evaporative heat loss” or sweat are different. One can’t judge a tough workout by the number of towels required to mop up.

But it can be assumed that good sweaters are effective heat dissipaters. Shedding the extra heat well means the heart and lungs are less stressed. It also means air conditioning won’t be such a necessity.

As people age, this ability wanes. Canadian researchers wondered at what age this starts. Ranging in age from 20-70, eighty-five males cycled for four 15-minute bouts in 35 degrees centigrade.

Results were reported in PLOSone:  Whole body sweat rate (WBSR) was reduced in males aged 56–70 during each exercise, in males aged 50–55 during the second and third exercises and in males aged 45–49 during the last bout only. All were measured as relative to the younger men.

Middle aged and older adults should be aware of this decline when exercising. Sweating should not be a gauge of a good workout. But it is certainly a welcome reward, not the bane deodorant companies would have us believe. To be safe, as we age, drink plenty of fluids and exercise outdoors in the cooler part of the day.

Another Strike Against HFCS

The advent of high fructose corn syrup in our diets correlates with soaring obesity rates. Some but not all data point to insulin resistance caused by inflammatory factors in fat tissue.

A new study in Nutrition and Diabetes tested this theory. For 10 months, mice were fed either a regular diet, a high-fat diet or a regular diet with 8% HFCS (such as a diet with soft drinks).

Results? The HFCS chow caused more severe adipose inflammation and insulin resistance than the other two. When ghrelin (the hunger hormone) was removed from the mice, the inflammation decreased.

HFCS appears to affect metabolism in ways that can contribute to obesity.



The Plots Thicken

Suburban life has been implicated in the obesity epidemic. Yet the proof is not as  solid as some research contends.

That is one conclusion from a new report from MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism. The research from the center along with the American Institute of Architects discusses public health issues in eight large metropolitan areas of the United States and offers solutions. Alan Berger, the main author, talked about the findings with MIT News. Here is some of what he had to say about suburbia and obesity:

If someone says to you that suburbanites are heavier because they drive more, it’s not been proven true. The studies [on this] are actually fairly soft. If you look at these eight cities, 83 percent of the suburban counties ranked healthier than their central city, using widely accepted health-risk factors. …Also, the idea of the food desert is largely fiction. There’s access to decent food pretty much across the metropolitan areas. In our cities the proximity to fast food doesn’t directly lead to poor urban health; there’s proximity to fast food everywhere. The question is how you get people to choose the right foods. “

Thus, the controversy continues.