Companies from throughout the U.S. and right here in Ohio are investing millions into the research going on at the University of Cincinnati.
Among them is Ohio’s own Ethicon Endo-Surgery, which is providing millions to UC in order to improve available treatments for those who are severely overweight. The company also set up a team of its own engineers to work with UC because this research promises both economic and health benefits for the region, for Ohio and beyond.
UC houses a premiere obesity research center supported not only by state and national industry partners but by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.
One UC research finding relates to a cell-signaling pathway in the brain that is linked to the development of cancer and diabetes. It is also a key part of networks that regulate food intake. The finding may one day lead to new ways of helping obese people lose weight, either with new drugs or by carefully designing diets that can activate this pathway.
Or, another avenue under investigation: We may be able to combat obesity by affecting the blood vessels in fat tissue. It’s the way tumors are currently treated.
With obesity affecting more than a third of all U.S. adults, it could be considered one of the largest unmet medical need, especially since less than one percent of America’s 64 million obese adults seek medical management related to their weight and its health effects, including diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension and osteoarthritis.
The number of obese adults increased three fold between 1991 and 2004. The future looks to be even worse because obesity in increasing most quickly among children and adolescents.
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