Fat signals control energy levels in the brain

An enzyme secreted by the body’s fat tissue controls energy levels in the brain, according to new research led by Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, of the School of Medicine. The findings, in mice, underscore a role for the body’s fat tissue in controlling the brain’s response to food scarcity, and suggest there is an optimal amount of body fat for maximizing health and longevity.

Belly fat may drive inflammatory processes associated with disease

An abdominal MRI scan showing the locations of subcutaneous and visceral fatAs scientists learn more about the key role of inflammation in diabetes, heart disease and other disorders, new research from the School of Medicine suggests that fat in the belly may be an important promoter of that inflammation. It’s well known that excess fat is associated with disease, but the researchers have confirmed that fat cells inside the abdomen are secreting molecules that increase inflammation. It’s the first evidence of a potential mechanistic link between abdominal fat and systemic inflammation.

Belly fat may drive inflammatory processes associated with disease

An abdominal MRI scan showing the locations of subcutaneous and visceral fatAs scientists learn more about the key role of inflammation in diabetes, heart disease and other disorders, new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that fat in the belly may be an important promoter of that inflammation. It’s well known that excess fat is associated with disease, but the researchers have confirmed that fat cells inside the abdomen are secreting molecules that increase inflammation. It’s the first evidence of a potential mechanistic link between abdominal fat and systemic inflammation. More…

Tongue sensors seem to taste fat

Structure of the fatty acid receptor CD36French researchers recently reported that mice have a receptor in their tongues that can sense fat, and the presence of that receptor seems to drive the mice to crave fat in their diets. The research was based on work from scientists at the School of Medicine, where investigators previously had identified a protein receptor for fat and documented its function in recognizing and using fatty food.

Tongue sensors seem to taste fat

Structure of the fatty acid receptor CD36As you stand at buffet tables during holiday parties this year, it might cheer you up to know most people don’t gain as much weight over the holidays as once was thought. Instead of five or 10 pounds, most of us actually gain only a pound or two. But it might depress you to know that weight gain happens one pound at a time, and in the long run, it may be hard to avoid — especially for some of us, because some of the taste buds in our tongues are programmed to make us crave fatty food — and fat is everywhere in our diets. French researchers recently reported that mice have a receptor in their tongues that can sense fat, and the presence of that receptor seems to drive the mice to crave fat in their diets. The research was based on work from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where investigators previously had identified a protein receptor for fat and documented its function in recognizing and using fatty food.