Mice Now! Humans Later, Maybe! Obesity Safely Treated With Hormone Combination

By Nick Venable | Published

When I’m standing precariously on the uneven slats between the legs of my bar stool while screaming in inaudible octaves due to the mouse running across the ground beneath me, I know in my head, I’m thinking, “Look at that fat fucking mouse.” Nothing is going to cure my screaming anytime soon, but Indiana University scientists did some simple tweaking and reinvented a treatment for the overweight rodents.

Brian Finan is the lead author of the Nature Medicine study, which took place in the labs of Richard DiMarchi, Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, and Matthias Tschöp, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Institute of Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Center Munich, Germany. Visit that link to read the list of 20+ co-authors.

Both estrogen and the peptide GLP-1, a gut hormone from the digestive system, have been effective as treatments for obesity and adult-onset diabetes, but high levels of either can be responsible for cardiovascular disease or excessive tissue growth. The researchers combined the hormones as a single molecule, and the enhancement improved both weight loss, metabolism, and glucose management, more so than either one used separately. Plus, it produced far fewer negative effects as a combo. It’s theorized the GLP-1 sends the estrogen straight to target areas in the hypothalamus and pancreas, reducing excess time for estrogen to possibly affect other areas.

It’s the result of an understandable goal of finding a biological solution to finding medicinal therapy that curbs some of the health problems involved with obesity and diabetes. I’d imagine this combination will lead to others, and we may not need to spend as much time on the exercise mat to stay in shape. Though if this does become a reality, and instead of naturally deciding to not eat large amounts of fatty foods, and we turn to pills that can safely lead to weight loss, then I think in a few generations we should be able to make the still obese people walk around with signs that say, “I gave up.” Because progress isn’t progress without small-mindedness.