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    Monday, July 02, 2007

    The Too Good to be True Department: Finding ways to not only melt fat but beautifully sculpt the body:

    In a series of experiments on mice, researchers showed that the neurochemical pathway they identified promotes fat growth in chronically stressed animals that eat the equivalent of a junk-food diet.

    The international team also showed that blocking those signals can prevent fat accumulation and shrink fat deposits and that stimulating the pathway can strategically create new deposits -- possibly offering new ways to remove fat as well as to mold youthful faces, firmer buttocks and bigger breasts.

    Dream on. The abstract is here, and although it is interesting finding as far as the biology of fat metabolism, the take home lesson is still to avoid high-calorie junk food - no matter how stressed you are. But here's where the researchers hope to cash in:

    The researchers also demonstrated that injecting a substance that blocks NPY prevented mice from accumulating fat -- even if they were stressed and ate a high-fat diet -- and could shrink fat deposits by 40 percent to 50 percent within two weeks.

    "It just melts the fat. It's incredible," said Zukowska, noting that the technique could offer an alternative or supplement to liposuction.

    On the flip side, when researchers inserted pellets containing NPY under the skin of mice and three monkeys, they were able to stimulate fat growth, suggesting that the approach could replace skin fillers and other cosmetic and reconstructive surgical techniques.

    "This has tremendous potential applications for both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery," said Stephen B. Baker, a Georgetown University professor of plastic surgery who helped conduct the research.

    Detailed studies of the mice and preliminary findings from the monkeys found no signs of adverse side effects.

    "We think we have hit on the natural mechanism that mammals use to grow fat, and reversing that process is the most natural thing," Zukowska said.

    Mice and monkeys are not men. It would be extremely surprising if tinkering with a fundamental cell mechanism has no long term adverse effects. We'll see.

    posted by Sydney on 7/02/2007 08:00:00 AM 0 comments


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