Obesity is an epidemic (in some nations, namely the US). It’s more than a little disconcerting when considering historic obesity trends. Realizing just how quickly we’re getting fatter is more than a little worrying. Note CDC obesity statistics from 1985 to 2008, understanding that central US is less densely populated than the coasts.
But according to an international team of researchers from the University of Georgia, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Université François Rabelais in Tours, France, and the Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China, parasitic worms may hold the solution (well, besides awareness and diet/exercise).
Their findings, published in Nature Medicine, demonstrate a number of parasitic worms release an anti-inflammatory molecule that alleviates many of the metabolic abnormalities that result from obesity.
Specifically once they’ve invaded hosts, parasitic worms release a sugar-derived molecule, a feature postulated to have arisen to evade host immune responses. Ordinary immune responses are facilitated by inflammation, so suppressing inflammation helps parasites evade detection.
Obesity is an inflammatory disease, so we hypothesized that this sugar might have some effect on complications related to it.
All of the metabolic indicators associated with obesity were restored to normal by giving these mice this sugar conjugate. It won’t prevent obesity, but it will help alleviate some of the problems caused by it.
Prevalence of inflammation-based diseases is extremely low in countries where people are commonly infected with worms. But the minute you start deworming people, it doesn’t take too long for these autoimmune diseases to pop up.
Thought provoking, to be blunt. Apparently the immune-modulating glycan is naturally found in human milk. Administration suppresses lipogenesis in the liver, reducing risk of hepatosteatosis. The glycan signal-transduction pathway is thought to reduce both inflammation and mediate other metabolic pathways.