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FAULTY “BRAIN SWITCH” DETERMINES OBESITY Obesity is considered as a disease in this New World. It has become a pandemic affecting every Nation. According to data collected in 2014 from the World Health Organization, more than 600 million adults around the world are obese and 41 million children younger than 5 years old are overweight. This in turn results in diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, obstructive sleep apnea, joint pains and infertility. A team of researchers from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has recently conducted a study striving to gain a better understanding of the brain mechanisms that contribute to weight gain and loss. They have identified the mechanism through which brain controls the amount of fat that is burned after a meal. They concluded that “Faulty signals” from the brain can promote obesity. Researchers revealed the existence of a "switch" that tells the body what to do with the fat gained after food intake. If the switch is faulty, then the body is likely to store more fat, thus becoming predisposed to obesity. They have found a link between food intake and the process whereby white fat turns into brown fat. In the body, fat is stored in adipocytes or fat cells that make up the adipose tissue. These fat cells can convert from "white" (storing energy) into "brown" (releasing energy). The study found that the brain normally "instructs" the white fat cells to turn into brown fat cells after eating. This happens in response to insulin released from pancreas into the blood in larger quantities as blood sugar levels increase. On the other hand, brown fat cells are turned back into white energy storing fat cells after a period of gap during which no food is consumed. When this mechanism functions normally, it allows the body to stabilize its weight. This mechanism is akin to a switch, "reading" the insulin signals and flipping on and off as appropriate. In the case of people predisposed to excess weight gain, this switch malfunctions, becoming stuck in the "on" position. As a result of this browning is turned off all the time and energy expenditure is decreased all the time, so when you eat, you do not see a increase in energy expenditure - and that promotes weight gain. Bariatric surgery will result in increased levels of GLP 1 and PYY hormones and decreased levels of hormone called ghrelin. This in turn results in stimulation of satiety center in the brain and inhibition of hunger center. Post bariatric surgery, patients feel less hungry and so they eat less. They do not feel tired also. This results in weight loss and resolution of obesity associated comorbid conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure etc.
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