23andMe and clinical trials

Want some help with your 2018 weight loss resolution? 23andMe might be able to help. In December they announced the “Weight Loss Intervention Study” noting it will attempt to uncover more about why each of us responds differently to exercise and diet. If you’re a 23andMe customer, then maybe you can be 1 of 100,000 people they intend to recruit. This is not 23andMe’s first time conducting clinical trials. They have conducted them in Lupus and Parkinson’s. According to Dr. Liana Del Gobbo, “We’d like to better understand the genetic, demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral characteristics that predict weight loss success overall, and on different lifestyle interventions.” Cool, because anything’s better than this method of weight loss. And 23andMe is probably not done after raising $250M in September, just like InsightCity.

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Cure for Type II diabetes

A study by researchers in The U.K. and published in The Lancet have cracked the code for Type II diabetes. Spoiler alert: it’s weight loss. *cue collective groan* Participants in the intervention arm of the study were taken off anti-diabetic and anti-hypertensive drugs and placed on a total diet replacement regimen that amounted to about 825 calories per day. Sounds more like breakfast, amirite? Among the participants who lost at least 15 kg (about 33 lbs.), 86% achieved remission from the disease. In addition, quality of life measures showed improvements in the intervention group and declines among the controls. Let me get this straight… QoL improved in people whose diets were severely messed with? Well, I’m confused.

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The dia-tarian diet

Two options: honey lemon chicken or marinated tofu. I know, I know that’s not a tough choice and face it, even vegans would choose the chicken if they could. But for the 150 million+ diabetics worldwide, tofu and cooked millet may become your new favorite meal. OK, so the favorite part may be an exaggeration, but hey, if a vegetarian diet can increase weight loss and improve your metabolism then it’s worth a shot, or a taste. Yep, according a new study this veggie diet beat out the conventional diabetic diet on both counts, just not the taste category. Of course with diabetes prevalence expected to double by 2025 and with one-third of the world now considered overweight, we may want to consider rewiring our taste buds.

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There’s no “good fat” when it comes to obesity

Is it possible to be simultaneously hefty and healthy? In a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity, researchers who scrutinized 20 years of electronic health records for 3.5 million people discovered that people who were overweight, but did not have any of the metabolic problems usually linked to excess weight, were more prone to develop metabolic problems. Compared to non-overweight individuals, “healthy obese people had a 50% higher risk of heart disease, a 7% higher risk of stroke, twice the risk of heart failure and a greater risk for peripheral artery disease.” The takeaway: physicians should encourage weight loss among obese patients irrespective of metabolic abnormalities.

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That’s mentally stimulating

Ever heard of the belly-brain connection? Or about the second brain in your gut? Well here is another crazy connection between the mind and one’s midsection: electromagnetic brain stimulation—currently a treatment for major depression—promotes weight loss by improving the health of the bacteria in one’s intestines. This study, which expands upon previous research linking dTMS (deep transcranial magnetic stimulation) with reduced food cravings resulting in weight loss, found that “After five weeks of treatment, subjects receiving dTMS lost more than 3% of their body weight and more than 4% of their fat—significantly more than controls did,” according to principal investigator Livio Luzi M.D. These findings offer hope for safe, effective, and non-invasive treatments for obesity.

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3. We can do this IF we try

In the past several decades, Americans have made great strides towards social acceptance of differences in lifestyle, whether it’s including women in the workforce, minorities in politics or welcoming LGBTQ members in our communities. Many consider these good things. But, too much of a good thing can be harmful. And, our increased social acceptance of excessive body weight is an example of how a good thing may have a downside. A recent study shows American waistlines have continued to expand, but attempts at weight loss have shrunk. The hypothesis: overweight people who are OK with their shape are less motivated to lose unhealthy weight. Not good, considering obesity has a greater negative impact on one’s health than smoking, drinking alcohol and poverty.

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