Thursday November 15, 2018

Combat obesity with your body’s built-in weighing scale

The system, which regulates weight gain by calculating body weight and fat mass, can help understanding the causes of obesity and ca facilitate new anti-obesity drugs.

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Obesity can now be cured by our body's natural weighing scales.
Obesity can now be cured by our body's natural weighing scales.
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  • Human body’s natural weighing scales can now help cure obesity.
  • The study of these scales can help us understand the reasons and cures for obesity.

Human body consists of an internal body weight sensing system that operates like bathroom scales, registering body weight and signalling the brain to reduce food intake, researchers have found.

The system, which regulates weight gain by calculating body weight and fat mass, could lead to a better understanding of the causes of obesity as well as new anti-obesity drugs.

The results also explain why several studies have coupled sitting habit with obesity and bad health. It is because the “internal body scales give an inaccurately low measure when you sit down. As a result you eat more and gain weight,” the researchers said.

Sitting has been closely associated by the researchers, as a cause of obesity,
Sitting has been closely associated by the researchers, as a cause of obesity,

“We have found support for the existence of internal bathroom scales. The weight of the body is registered in the lower extremities. If the body weight tends to increase, a signal is sent to the brain to decrease food intake and keep the body weight constant,” said John-Olov Jansson, Professor at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Further, the results demonstrate that the weight sensing system regulates fat mass independently of leptin — a weight loss hormone. It is possible that leptin combined with activation of the internal body scales can become an effective treatment for obesity, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the team performed experiments on obese rodents that were made artificially heavier by loading with extra weights.

The animals lost almost as much weight as the artificial load. The extra weights caused body fat to decrease and blood glucose levels to improve. IANS

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Old Dusty Kilogram Swapped for Something More Stable: Scientists

It has taken years of work to fine-tune the new definition to ensure the switchover will be smooth.

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Kilogram
The International Prototype of the Kilogram (IPK) is pictured in Paris, France, in this undated photo obtained from social media. VOA

After years of nursing a sometimes dusty cylinder of metal in a vault outside Paris as the global reference for modern mass, scientists are updating the definition of the kilogram.

Just as the redefinition of the second in 1967 helped to ease communication across the world via technologies like GPS and the internet, experts say the change in the kilogram will be better for technology, retail and health — though it probably won’t change the price of fish much.

The kilogram has been defined since 1889 by a shiny piece of platinum-iridium held in Paris. All modern mass measurements are traceable back to it — from micrograms of pharmaceutical medicines to kilos of apples and pears and tons of steel or cement.

kilogram, weight
Border Security Force officials showing 17 kilogram heroine.

The problem is, the “international prototype kilogram” doesn’t always weigh the same. Even inside its three glass bell jars, it gets dusty and dirty, and is affected by the atmosphere. Sometimes, it really needs a wash.

“We live in a modern world. There are pollutants in the atmosphere that can stick to the mass,” said Ian Robinson, a specialist in the engineering, materials and electrical science department at Britain’s National Physical Laboratory.

“So when you just get it out of the vault, it’s slightly dirty. But the whole process of cleaning or handling or using the mass can change its mass. So it’s not the best way, perhaps, of defining mass.”

What’s needed is something more constant.

kilogram, weight
The Kilogram. Flickr

So, at the end of a week-long meeting in the Palace of Versailles, Paris, the world’s leading measurement aficionados at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures will vote Friday to make an “electronic kilogram” the new baseline measure of mass.

Just as the meter — once the length of a bar of platinum-iridium, also kept in Paris — is now defined by the constant speed of light in a vacuum, so a kilogram will be defined by a tiny but immutable fundamental value called the “Planck constant.”

The new definition involves an apparatus called the Kibble balance, which makes use of the constant to measure the mass of an object using a precisely measured electromagnetic force.

Paris,diesel,kilogram, weight
The kilogram has been defined since 1889 by a shiny piece of platinum-iridium held in Paris.VOA

“In the present system, you have to relate small masses to large masses by subdivision. That’s very difficult — and the uncertainties build up very, very quickly,” Robinson said.

“One of the things this [new] technique allows us to do is to actually measure mass directly at whatever scale we like, and that’s a big step forward.”

Also Read: NASA to Send Organ-on-Chips to Test Human Tissue Health in Space

He said it had taken years of work to fine-tune the new definition to ensure the switchover will be smooth.

But while the extra accuracy will be a boon to scientists, Robinson said that, for the average consumer buying flour or bananas, “there will be absolutely no change whatsoever.” (VOA)