Monday, December 23, 2013

It's the Reporting, Stupid

Meanwhile, bears have figured out how to be healthily obese and then lose massive amounts of weight without problems.
"I want to learn how the grizzly bears work their magic," Dr. Kamb says.
Dr. Corbit, who says he had worked "exclusively on mice" before joining Amgen in 2011, says his studies of fat and blood samples suggest the bears respond to excessive weight gain differently than many people.
The bears seem to adjust their sensitivity to the hormone insulin that controls how much the fat and sugars in food are broken down and stored for energy. The bears are more sensitive to insulin while putting on pounds for hibernation. When hibernating a few weeks later, the bears shut off their insulin responsiveness entirely.

Oh, the embarrassment of the researchers after reading this.  Humans are sensitive to insulin when they are healthy.  Humans likely become insulin resistant when fasting too, we have many of the same mechanisms as animals that hibernate.  The question, unless you are looking for a new drug, is "what is it that makes the exquisitely well adapted human mechanism for storing and losing fat go wrong such that people can be fat, feel lethargic, and be hungry when they are not calorie deprived?"

However, the article isn't really supposed to be an enlightening piece about fat loss and health, it's supposed to be about the fascinating idea that we may be learning from bears.  Reporters generally don't seem to know enough about metabolism to write informative articles, but it's easy to entertain with a piece written about bears.

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