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Significant obesity research to be presented at Endocrine Society meeting

Monday 6th June 2011
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Bariatric surgery may reverse decreasing testosterone levels and male sexual dysfunction, a new study has revealed.

A high frequency of hypotestosteronenemia, or low levels of testosterone, and sexual dysfunction is seen in morbidly obese men, according to the study to be presented at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting.

However, according to study co-author Jean-Paul Thissen, these issues could potentially be reversed through weight-loss surgery.

The 17 participants who underwent the procedure lost an average 90.2 pounds and one year after the surgery, testosterone levels were seen to increase significantly.

In other research to be presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, obesity could be treated with calorie-burning brown fat.

The study indicated that many adults have large amounts of 'good' fat, known to burn calories, and that more of this tissue could be produced.

Lead author Aaron Cypess, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, explained that the level of brown fat varies from person to person.

In the study, researchers were able to grow mature human brown fat cells from pre-fat cells (preadipocytes), taken from the neck of patients undergoing surgery.

"We demonstrated that brown fat burns up a substantial number of calories," Cypess said.

"We have an organ in our body whose job it is to generate heat and burn calories."

Meanwhile, further research to be presented at the meeting revealed that drug topiramate could be used as a weight-loss drug.

Brazilian researchers discovered that overweight or obese patients who took the drug for at least four months lost 11.8 pounds more on average than those who received a placebo.

However, those who used topiramate were found to be almost twice as likely to stop treatment because of side effects than those in the placebo group.

Lead investigator Caroline Kramer, from the Clinic Hospital of Porto Alegre in Brazil, warned: "Data from individual clinical trials might not be sufficient to support physicians' decision to prescribe it for this use, and robust evidence of its safety is lacking."

Written by Mathew Horton

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