Australian Scientists Have Cured* Obesity

Imagine being able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and how many you want. However, there is one caveat: you'd have to imagine that you're a mouse too.

Australian scientists have managed to cure obesity in mice, and are now hoping to get the same results for humans. Researchers at Flinders University are looking into an anti-obesity drug that would still allow you to eat what you want by removing a gene known as RCAN1.

Blocking RCAN1 helps transform unhealthy white fat into the healthier brown version, according to the team of researchers. There are two types of fat in the human body - brown fat burns energy, while white fat stores energy.

Tests using mice on a high-fat diet showed those without the gene gained no weight, while those with it put on fat. When it came to exercise, the RCAN1 gene-less mice produced another result – burning a lot of energy even at rest.

The challenge for researchers is to confirm that what seems to work for mice can do the same for humans because it can certainly help a lot of Aussies. One-third of Australian adults and a quarter of Australian children are either obese or overweight.

Flinders University researcher Professor Damien Keating said. "We know a lot of people struggle to lose weight or even control their weight for a number of different reasons. The findings in this study could mean developing a pill which would target the function of RCAN1 and may result in weight loss."

While it sounds too good to be true, experts warn that eating as you please may have other health implications, such as heart disease or cancer.

“There’s a long way to go. This is exciting, what we’ve found so far.”


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