Skip to main content

Research Drug Might Extend Life for Obese

I usually choose not to write about the "new new scientific thing" that gets picked up by the press,  because early research is usually not reproducible and good science takes a long time to validate as true.  But since we know that mice and rats that are kept on low-calorie diets live 30% longer (and healthier) than their fat cohorts, I was interested in a new research compound, SRT-1720,  that was shown to protect obese mice from diseases of obesity.  Fat mice lived 44% longer if they were given this drug.

The "designer" drug works by chemically mimicking resveratrol which stimulates protective proteins called sirtuins.  These sirtuins regulate metabolism and are found with very low levels of calories.  Since most people cannot sustain a very low calorie diet indefinitely, nor can they drink 100 bottles of red wine a day to get resveratrol, SRT-1720 may lead to an answer to combat the obesity epidemic and the health problems that go with it.

Sirtris is the small pharmaceutical company that is studying SRT-1720.  They followed the chubby mice for three years and found SRT-1720 reduced the amount of fat in the liver and increased sensitivity to insulin.  Other drugs that are closely related to SRT-1720 are undergoing clinical trials in humans.

There should be much skepticism about this drug and others that promise longevity.  It is unlikely there will be a pill that will reverse poor eating habits or natural aging.  There have been hundreds (no thousands) of diet drugs and anti-aging drugs that have been developed and finally discarded when they do not work.  Even so, the diet business is a multi-billion dollar industry and big pharma will continue to try and develop a magic pill.

It is ironic that the more developed a country becomes, the more unhealthy the eating habits become.  


Popular posts from this blog

scintillating scotoma

Nothing like experiencing a medical condition first-hand to really help a doctor understand it from the patient's point of view.  After all these years, I had my first (and hopefully last) scintillating scotoma while sitting on the couch playing "words with friends" on my ipad and watching TV.  A scotoma is a partial loss of vision in a normal visual field.  Scintillate is flashing, sparkles.  Put them together and you have moving, flashing sparkles with a blind spot in your eyes.

This visual aura was first described in the 19th century  by a Dr. Hubert Airy who had migraine headaches.  The visual sparks and flashes are in a zig-zag pattern and they can precede a migraine headache or occur without any pain.   The scotoma affects both eyes and closing one or the other does not make it go away.  Sometimes the term "ocular migraine" or "retinal migraine"  are used to describe this phenomenon but these involve only one eye, not both.  The terms are often …

Do Doctors Make Too Much Money?

An article in theNew York Times says the reason health care costs are so high in the United States is because doctors are paid too much. I saw that and my eyes bugged out. I just came home from a meeting with physicians and hospital administrators and the entire meeting was spent discussing the financial challenges physicians face in keeping their doors open to see patients. The goal of this meeting was to keep health services in that community so patients will have someone to care for them. Not a person in the room would agree that the doctors earn too much.

Physicians paid too much? Lets break that down. A doctor spends a minimum of 11 years in education and training after the age of 18. Many are in training for 15 or more years. They are living on student loans and contributing zero to their family's income until the residency years. At that time they earn less than minimum wage if you factor in the 80-100 hour workweek. When a doctor emerges from training (and believe me…