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A new type of skin patch that may reduce body: study

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A new type of skin patch that may reduce body: study
A new type of skin patch that may reduce body: study. wikimedia commons
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Singapore, Dec 29, 2017: Researchers have developed a new type of skin patch that may reduce body fat and obesity by turning energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat. According to the researchers, brown fats are found in babies and they help to keep the baby warm by burning energy. As humans grow older, the amount of brown fat lessens and is replaced with visceral white fats.

“What we aim to develop is a painless patch that everyone could use easily, is unobtrusive and yet affordable. Most importantly, our solution aims to use a person’s own body fats to burn more energy, which is a natural process in babies,” said Chen Peng, professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

The new type of skin patch contains hundreds of micro-needles which are loaded with the drug Beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonist or another drug called thyroid hormone T3 triiodothyronine.

When the patch is pressed into the skin for about two minutes, these micro-needles become embedded in the skin and detach from the patch, which can then be removed.

As the needles degrade, the drug molecules then slowly diffuse to the energy-storing white fat underneath the skin layer, turning them into energy-burning brown fats.

Published in the journal Small Methods, this approach could help to address the worldwide obesity problem without resorting to surgical operations or oral medications. In a laboratory experiments conducted by the researchers showed that the patch could suppress weight gain in mice that were fed a high fat diet and reduce their fat mass by over 30 per cent, over a period of four weeks.

“With the embedded micro-needles in the skin of the mice, the surrounding fats started browning in five days, which helped to increase the energy expenditure of the mice, leading to a reduction in body fat gain,” said Xu Chenjie, assistant professor at NTU.

The treated mice also had significantly lower blood cholesterol and fatty acids levels compared to the untreated mice. (IANS)

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Overweight in Middle Age Linked to Low Breast Cancer Risk

At ages 25 to 34, each five-unit increase in BMI was linked to 15 per cent lower risk

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Wireless Device to Detect Heart Dysfunction in Cancer Survivors
Wireless Device to Detect Heart Dysfunction in Cancer Survivors. Pixabay

While obesity has been shown to increase breast cancer risk in elderly, for younger women the opposite seems to be true. For pre-menopausal women, a higher body fat was linked to lower breast cancer risk, according to researchers.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, showed that there was 23 per cent lower breast cancer risk linked to each five-unit increase in body mass index (BMI) between the ages of 18 and 24.

At ages 25 to 34, each five-unit increase in BMI was linked to 15 per cent lower risk.

There was a 13 per cent lower risk for BMI at ages 35 to 44, and a 12 per cent lower risk for BMI at ages 45 to 54 years.

“We saw a trend where, as BMI went up, cancer risk went down. There was no threshold at which having a higher BMI was linked to lower cancer risk,” said Hazel B. Nichols, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina.

Cancer
Representational image. Pixabay

The trend could be attributed to multiple factors such as differences in hormones, including estrogen — primary female sex hormone — growth factors, or breast density, Nichols said.

Estrogen has known to be a key driver of breast cancer. But, the small amount of estrogen produced by fat tissue before menopause may help tell the ovaries that they can produce less estrogen and also regulate other hormones or growth factors, Nichols said, adding that after menopause, women with higher adipose tissue have higher estrogen levels and usually a higher breast cancer risk.

“In young women, estrogen is one factor that contributes, but it’s not the whole story,” she noted.

Also Read: Cancer: Salient Features of The Killer Disease

For the study, the team pooled data from 19 different studies to investigate breast cancer risk for a group of 758,592 women who were younger than 55 years.

However, “this study is not a reason to try to gain weight to prevent breast cancer. Heavier women have a lower overall risk of breast cancer before menopause, but there are a lot of other benefits to managing a healthy weight that should be considered,” Nichols noted. (IANS)

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