Obesity. (Got your attention?)
It's the topic of a collaborative research study involving Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and the University of Arizona. The study suggests that the composition of microbes within the human gut may hold a key to at least part of the cause of obesity -- and the prospect for future treatment.
The upshot? After studying the gut microbial composition of patients of normal weight, those who were morbidly obese and those who underwent gastric bypass surgery, it appeared that the microbes in the gut of those who were obese had some dramatic differences, compared with the normal weight individuals, while the composition following gastric bypass surgery looked similar to that of the normal weight individuals. More studies are needed, but Dr. John DiBaise, Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, says that down the road, information on an individual's gut microbial composition may make it possible to predict a person's susceptibility to obesity and lead to new treatments to favorably modify the gut microbial composition.
For more information, you can read the entire press release here.
Dr. DiBaise was quoted liberally in Time.com on this topic.
Lynn Closway is a Public Affairs Representative at Mayo Clinic.