Researchers at Yale University found that both obesity and liver disease can be triggered by a family of proteins called inflammasomes that alter the balance of microbes in the stomach.
The study, published in the online version of Nature, suggests this altered intestinal environment can be passed on – making obesity an infectious condition.
The finding came to light during a study on stomach bacteria in mice.
The research team found that a deficiency in components of two particular inflammasomes in mice resulted in the development of an altered microbial community associated with increased bacteria.
This determined the severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and obesity in the mice.
Senior study author Professor Richard Flavell said: “When healthy mice were co-housed with mice that had altered gut microbes, the healthy mice also developed a susceptibility for development of liver disease and obesity.”
Researchers at Yale University found that both obesity and liver disease can be triggered by a family of proteins called inflammasomes that alter the balance of microbes in the stomach
NAFLD is the result of metabolic syndrome, a collection of disorders that includes obesity and diabetes, and is the leading cause of chronic liver disease in the western world.
It is estimated that up to 30 million people suffer from NAFLD in the United States alone.
Prof. Richard Flavell said the next step will be to extend the research to see if the same effect can be seen in humans.
“We found, in mice, that targeted antibiotic treatment brought the microbial composition back to normal, and thus eased the liver disease. Our hope is that our findings may eventually lead to a treatment for humans.”
In the meantime, overweight adults should use the tried and tested formula of eating a healthy diet and performing half an hour of moderate exercise at least three times a week.
Walter, the fattest cat at the shelter, was adopted by a Portland, Oregon couple who were moved by his story of.
Walter is a seven-year-old grey and white cat, who tips the scales at a whopping 28 pounds.
Upon taking their new pet home, Colleen Sanders, 25, and Aaron Betancourth, 33, were given seemingly bizarre orders from the humane society – make sure Walter gains more weight.
Walter, who was brought to the shelter after his previous owner found out his new landlord at an assisted living home didn’t allow cats, stayed at the shelter for only a week.
His extreme weight makes it difficult for him to stand. However, the stress of a new environment caused the cat to lose several pounds during his stay.
Walter, the fattest cat at the shelter, was adopted by a Portland, Oregon couple who were moved by his story of
The Oregon Humane Society says that before Walter starts his journey to become a leaner feline, he must first gain weight to avoid a potentially fatal disease.
Veterinarian Dr. Kristi Ellis says that with his new surroundings and a change in diet, Walter dropped three pounds in seven days at the shelter, a dangerous amount to lose so quickly.
Extreme, unhealthy weight loss puts the cat at risk of fatty liver disease.
Dr. Kristi Ellis told Walter’s new owners that he should be allowed to eat whatever he wants for the next two weeks, but come February should start a low-calorie diet, eating about 600 calories a day.
That amount should allow for a healthy weight loss. They hope to bring Walter down to a still respectable 18 pounds.
The diet – high in lean protein – was dubbed the “Catkins Diet”.
The average weight for a male house cat is between six and seven pounds.
Aaron Betancourth and Colleen Sanders became aware of the Walter’s story and instantly fell in love.
“He’s very cute, very sweet,” Colleen Saunders told KPTV.
“Obviously, his previous owner loved him, although they loved him in maybe the wrong way.”
Colleen Saunders said they’re looking forward to helping Walter manage his weight. They’ll also use a laser pointer to keep Walter up and moving.