Monday, March 9, 2009

Gene research to end obesity?

Gene research? More like brain surgery. As was said here by Artemis, brain surgery. Brain surgery for "obesity". I can see having brain surgery for Parkinson's disease, or similar diseases that affect one's quality of life drastically, but not for weight loss.
The treatment is similar to Professor During's gene therapy to the brain for Parkinson's disease, given under local anaesthetic, which is being used in phase 2 human clinical trials.
The genetic material is injected into the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, after boring two holes through the skull. It is carried in a harmless virus whose genetic material has been replaced by the therapy.

No, just no. Being fat may affect one's quality of life, but it's not the fat itself that is the biggest factor in that quality of life, it's the attitudes of the fat-phobic asshats who make fat peoples' lives miserable by calling them names, giving a lowered quality of medical care, making clothing less available in a wide range of sizes/styles/colors, assuming that one-size-fits-all means everyone fits within a certain range (which is usually smaller than even someone who is considered "normal" can fit in), and a whole slew of other discriminations too numerous to list.
The main active component is part of the human gene that causes the production of a substance called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a protein involved in weight regulation. It is coupled with genetic material that triggers auto-regulation of the BDNF to control the weight loss once the process is well under way.

Genetic material that triggers auto-regulation of weight loss? I'm not too sure I believe that's as possible as they seem to think it is. Do they really know how this is going to work in human beings? Since they've only been able to experiment with mice. I'm not a mouse, my physiology is different than that of a mouse, and I'm not so enamored of being thin that I'm willing to play guinea pig for them. Especially considering the following -
A third genetic component was developed for a subsequent neurosurgery injection, if needed, to knock out the introduced BDNF gene as a rescue device that halts the weight-loss process.

So if this auto-regulation doesn't stop the weight loss once a person gets to what is considered a "suitable" weight, they're going to drill more holes in someone's skull, and do more injections to stop the weight loss? How many times is a person supposed to expose themselves to the risk of stroke, stroke-like syndrome, depression, memory problems, psychiatric and/or behavioral problems, and possible infection (thank you, Artemis, this wasn't mentioned at the site where I read about this) in order to be thin? This seems to be another surgery like all the WLSurgeries that have led to so many horrible, life-threatening/ending complications for far too many people already.
In one of the trials, the body weight of obese mice reduced by 20 per cent in three weeks and stabilised for the remainder of the 11-week experiment.

One of the trials? What happened to the mice in the other trials? How many of them died from this operation? How many of them suffered from the risks listed above? What were the percentages of mice for whom this worked, compared to how many mice died or had adverse complications? How many mice got by with just one injection/brain surgery? Do we really want to apply those unknown percentages to human beings?
I realize that the fat-phobes out there are willing to do anything to get rid of the fatties of the world, but as one of those fatties, I'm not willing to risk my life a second time just to be thin (once was enough, thank you very much). Those possible complications? Living with any one of those, not to mention a possible combination of them, and being thin, is NOT better than living fat. This seems to be another case of the cure being worse than the "disease" (especially since being fat isn't a disease, no matter how much the medical community wants us to think it is).
ETA - Those people who are willing to go through this in the Stage Two clinical trials must be a lot more desperate than I am, and I really feel for them. I wish they didn't think something this drastic was necessary to have a quality life.

ETA - Check out Sandy's post at Junkfood Science on the DBS (deep brain stimulation) for weight loss in "obese" people. Electrocute your brains and lose weight, people (and line up for some horrible side effects that they don't want you to know about, because you might change your mind if you knew the real odds of getting one or more of them).
Doctors/researchers pushing this kind of shit need to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.


  1. God I can only imagine all the problems that are going to arise from something like this! It's Barbaric!

  2. This... makes me feel rather sick. I guess that's not much of an achievement, seeing as I've been sick today anyway, but I see brain surgery for obesity going down in history with a reputation similar to that of frontal lobotomies for depression.

  3. Um, wtf? NO. Brain surgery is just not something you do unless your life is in danger. My husband has seizures stemming from a probable brain tumor, and surgery isn't even an option unless it's a literal life or death situation. Just NO.

  4. Y'all, I totally agree with you. This is just so wrong, I can't emphasize it enough. WLS was supposed to be this great "cure" for obesity, and I know from personal experience that it sure as hell isn't nearly the "cure" doctors are saying it is. So when they come up with this brain surgery/gene research "cure", I'm not only taking it with a grain of salt, it's the whole damn salt mine I'm using. Skepticism should be my middle name when it comes to "cures" for "obesity".

  5. 'Genetic material that triggers auto-regulation of weight loss? I'm not too sure I believe that's as possible as they seem to think it is.'

    Exactly, sounds rather suspect.

    The brain is desgined can re-route itself, (sometimes it can even repair itself). With the added unique aspect that parts of it add up to consciousness.

    If they want to do something, why don't they make more use of this?

    With a degenerative disease like Parkinson's, it's different, but with weight, the conscious part of our mind is involved in the metabolic process.

    And also, did they mention how they are going to get over the thing that always trips them up, the body's supreme capacity to make good it's loses, IOW, rebound weight gain?

  6. This kind of thing always raises more questions than it answers, and creates more problems than it solves, which seems to be the way with anything that is created to alter our bodies into a man-created kind of ideal that Mother Nature didn't intend for us to have (otherwise, why do our bodies fight so hard to maintain their status quo?).

  7. I was recently talking to someone who works for a company that makes electronic brain implants, like for treating epilepsy and Parkinson's. She says that one of their next designs is for obestity.


    What's it going to do? Make you feel sated? Many of us don't overeat. So that won't help. Make you feel good when you exercise? Many of us already exercise. So that won't help.

    Maybe it might help with binge eating, but for those of us who aren't binge eaters, what's it going to do?

    I sometimes believe that the medical establishment really hates us enough to want to see us all die.


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