Modifying gut bacteria may treat obesity
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 21, 2008
Research in animals supports the idea that the flora of the digestive system has an important role in energy regulation, and modifying it should be pursued as a possible treatment for weight problems among humans, according to an article in the April Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
"Although clearly no substitute for proper diet and exercise, manipulation of the gut microbiota may represent a novel approach for treating obesity that has few adverse effects," said John K. DiBaise, MD, lead author and a gastroenterologist with Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The review found several mouse studies that modified these animals' weight by altering their gut flora without changing food consumption or physical activity. Others have documented that the flora affects the number of calories excreted and the amount stored by the body in both humans and animals. The authors say that studies are needed to determine if changes in the flora in humans can affect their weight.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2008/04/21/hlbf0421.htm.