Thursday, December 19, 2013

Obesity can be Hard to Bear

As the resident expert in weight loss surgery in California, Dr. Feiz is increasingly in demand by a populace that is struggling with obesity in record numbers. The skill he brings when performing treatments like gastric sleeve surgery consistently go a long way towards helping patients to achieve their health and weight goals, and often lead to a significant increase in self-confidence. Incidentally, there are some in the medical field that are tackling the obesity issue from a distinctly fuzzier perspective.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Dr. Kevin Corbit, a scientist at drug maker Amgen Inc., is researching grizzly bears in order to glean new insights into obesity."When I thought about obesity, I thought about Yogi bear," says Dr. Corbit.

Bears can take in as much as 58,000 calories in a day, and weigh 1,000 lbs. In fact, in the weeks before hibernating, bears pack away enough apples, berries and salmon to put on 100 lbs or more - leading to a jump in their bad cholesterol and a spike in blood pressure. Intriguingly, though, this doesn't lead to a decline in health, a distinct contrast to their human counterparts.

The arteries of a bear won't clog from goring, and the animals don't battle heart attacks or become diabetic. Dr. Corbit and his team have found that the bears seem to adjust their sensitivity to the hormone insulin that controls how much fat and sugars in food are broken down and stored for energy. The bears are more sensitive to insulin while putting on the weight prior to hibernation, and after a few weeks of hibernating, their insulin responsiveness shuts down entirely.

The next step for Dr. Corbit is to explore what it is about the biology of bears that allows them to do this, which could lead to a breakthrough for those who suffer from obesity. Until then, though, sufferers of obesity are lucky to have the incomparable Dr. Feiz on hand to offer several types of weight loss surgery with truly life-changing results. 

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