Mice given an experimental gene therapy don't get fat, regardless of caloric intake

Researchers at Flinders University knocked out a gene known as RCAN1 in mice, hypothesizing that this would increase "non-shivering thermogenesis," which "expends calories as heat rather than storing them as fat" -- the mice were fed a high-calorie diet and did not gain weight. Read the rest

Making muscles less efficient to overclock metabolisms

Mayo Clinic researchers have had some success in convincing muscles to burn energy less efficiently, resulting in more calories consumed through exercise and simple tasks (in lab animals, anyway). They're thinking this may allow them to overclock our metabolisms:

The researchers conclude that "sarcolemmal KATP channels govern muscle energy economy, and their downregulation in a tissue-specific manner could present an anti-obesity strategy by rendering muscle increasingly thermogenic at rest and less fuel efficient during exercise."

The findings also point Zingman to another general principle when it comes to our weight.

"For me, the most surprising thing was how small changes can translate to significant changes with time," he said, noting that mice with and without the channels start out the same in terms of body weight but start to diverge from one another by the time they reach four months in age. "Limiting energy consumption by a small fraction with every movement or beat of the heart can add up to a significant change in total energy consumption. Small actions may really make a huge difference."

A Solution to Obesity? Muscles That Act as an Energy Drain

Previously: "Cruel Kindness," a 1967 UK educational film about childhood ... Curry vs. obesity and diabetes (in mice, anyway) - Boing Boing Is obesity caused by a virus? - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Animated map of American obesity 1985-2004 American obesity skyrockets, 73% obese or overweight by 2008 ... Childhood obesity in The Week - Boing Boing Historical origins of obesity - Boing Boing Microbes and obesity - Quirks and Quarks radio show - Boing Boing Read the rest