A protein that could control obesity?
Maybe. One day.
We aren’t there yet, but new research appears promising. As the obesity epidemic continues to explode across the US and Europe, everyone is searching for answers. But the solution is complicated and is going to have to be multi-factorial. If you are a regular listener to my Causes or Cures podcast, you’ll know that I’ve been focusing on the obesity epidemic and bringing on a variety of stakeholders and experts to discuss specific aspects of the obesity epidemic. I think obesity, in conjunction with our lazy approach to prevention, is the biggest public health problem of our times. Obesity will increase our burden of chronic illnesses, and in people of younger and younger ages. It will also drive up healthcare costs, within a system that is already unaffordable for many. Perhaps because of my military background, I tend to look at things from a national security perspective too. I think obesity is a national security issue for several reasons that I’ll dive into in a future blog. Today’s blog is about a protein that could control obesity.
In a recent episode of Causes or Cures, I had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Mathias Schmidt and Dr. Nils Gassen about their recent research published in Science Advances that involves a protein in the brain that may link autophagy to metabolism to weight control and the fight against obesity. In the podcast, they will discuss why they are interested in obesity research, why they have a specific interest in this protein, what they knew about the protein before the study and what they learned from their results, what autophagy is, how it is linked to the specific protein, how autophagy is linked to metabolism, and what their research might mean for weight control and the fight against obesity going forward. I know that sounds like a lot, but they both did a great job of breaking down tough topics in an easy-to-understand way. They also discuss ways that we might be able to manipulate the protein and make it function for us in a beneficial way. After listening to this podcast on a protein that could control obesity, you can think about ways that researchers might use that information in the future: Will one diet be recommended over another? Will a drug be created to inhibit/drive some part of the process? Or, as suggested in the podcast, will a supplement be recommended?
Who are the researchers?
Dr. Schmidt is the Research Group Leader of the Neurobiology of Stress Resilience at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany and Dr. Gassen is a Research Group Leader at the University of Bonn Medical Center in Germany. I want to thank both of them for coming on the podcast and offering a great explanation of their work. If there is something you don’t understand, please send me an email, and I’ll see if I can sort it out for you.
And once again, thanks again for subscribing to Causes or Cures! I really appreciate your support of this grassroots, totally independent effort to have conversations about trending (sometimes controversial) scientific topics in respectful, open, curious and a nonpolitical way. I admit I’m not perfect, but at least that is what I try to accomplish with the podcast.
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