With all of the recent interest in the gut microbiota as a mediator of systemic inflammation and metabolic disease, it was only a matter of time before researchers would begin targeting pro-inflammatory pathways in the gut to change metabolism. A proof-of-principle, that this is indeed possible, is presented by Helen Luck and colleagues from the University of Toronto in a paper published in Cell Metabolism. Using mice models, the researchers not only show that a high-fat diet can alter the gut immune system but also that the chronic phenotypic pro-inflammatory shift in bowel lamina propria immune cell populations is reduced in genetically altered mice that lack beta7 integrin-deficient mice (Beta7null), a driver of gut inflammatory response. Further more, treatment of high-fat-fed normal mice with the local gut anti-inflammatory agent 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5-ASA), reverses bowel inflammation and improves metabolic parameters including insulin resistance (although it had no effect on body weight). These beneficial effects are are associated with reduced gut permeability and endotoxemia as well as decreased visceral adipose tissue inflammation. Moreover, treatment with ASA also improved antigen-specific tolerance to luminal antigens. Thus, as the authors conclude, “…the mucosal immune system affects multiple pathways associated with systemic insulin resistance and represents a novel therapeutic target in this disease.” Clearly gut inflammation both in relationship to gut microbiota as well as response to dietary factors is likely to be a hot topic in obesity and metabolic research for the foreseeable future. @DrSharma Edmonton, AB
Anyone interested in the issue of obesity and cardiovascular disease may want to get a copy of the latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, which includes a number of review articles and opinion pieces on a wide range of issues related to obesity and cardiovascular disease. Here is the table of contents: Lim SP, Arasaratnam P, Chow BJ, Beanlands RS, Hessian RC: Obesity and the challenges of noninvasive imaging for the detection of coronary artery disease. Després JP. Obesity and cardiovascular disease: weight loss is not the only target. Kramer CK. Weight loss is a useful therapeutic objective. Garcia-Labbé D, Ruka E, Bertrand OF, Voisine P, Costerousse O, Poirier P. Obesity and Coronary Artery Disease: Evaluation and Treatment. Lovren F, Teoh H, Verma S. Obesity and Atherosclerosis: Mechanistic Insights. Sankaralingam S, Kim RB, Padwal RS. The Impact of Obesity on the Pharmacology of Medications Used for Cardiovascular Risk Factor Control. Piché MÈ, Auclair A, Harvey J, Marceau S, Poirier P. How to Choose and Use Bariatric Surgery in 2015. Valera B, Sohani Z, Rana A, Poirier P, Anand SS. The Ethnoepidemiology of Obesity. McCrindle BW. Cardiovascular Consequences of Childhood Obesity. St-Pierre J, Poirier P. What nature used to allow to die, don’t let modern habits damage after repair: preventable obesity risk in congenital heart disease. Poirier P, McCrindle BW, Leiter LA. Obesity-it must not remain the neglected risk factor in cardiology. Lang JJ, McNeil J, Tremblay MS, Saunders TJ. Sit less, stand more: A randomized point-of-decision prompt intervention to reduce sedentary time. @DrSharma Edmonton, AB
Regular readers may recall that for the past nine years, I have had the privilege and pleasure of serving as faculty of the Canadian Obesity Network’s annual Obesity Research Summer Bootcamp. The camp is open to a select group of graduate and post-graduate trainees from a wide range of disciplines with an interest in obesity research. Over nine days, the trainees are mentored and have a chance to learn about obesity research in areas ranging from basic science to epidemiology and childhood obesity to health policy. Now, a formal network analysis of bootcamp attendees, published by Jenny Godley and colleagues in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Healthcare, documents the substantial impact that this camp has on the careers of the trainees. As the analysis of trainees who attended this camp over its first 5 years of operation (2006-2010) shows, camp attendance had a profound positive impact on their career development, particularly in terms of establishing contacts and professional relationships. Thus, both the quantitative and the qualitative results demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinary training and relationships for career development in obesity researcher (and possibly beyond). Personally, participation at this camp has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and I look forward to continuing this annual exercise for years to come. To apply for the 2015 Bootcamp, which is also open to international trainees – click here. @DrSharma Toronto, ON Godley J, Glenn NM, Sharma AM, & Spence JC (2014). Networks of trainees: examining the effects of attending an interdisciplinary research training camp on the careers of new obesity scholars. Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare, 7, 459-70 PMID: 25336965 .
The common assumption is that people with more body fat are at greater risk for illness and overall mortality. Surprisingly, an increasingly robust body of evidence now suggests that how much lean tissue you have may be far more important for your health than the amount of body fat. This evidence as well as the methodologies used to study lean body mass are discusses in a paper by Carla Prado (University of Alberta) and Steve Heymsfield (Pennington Biomedical Research Center), in a paper published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. As the authors point out, “The emerging use of imaging techniques such as dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound imaging in the clinical setting have highlighted the importance of lean soft tissue (LST) as an independent predictor of morbidity and mortality.“ The paper discusses in depth the advantages and limitation of the many methods that can be used to assess body composition in research and clinical settings. The paper also discusses the current definition and importance of sarcopenic obesity and notes that, “The identification of different body composition phenotypes suggests that individuals have different metabolism and hence utilization of fuel sources.” Thus, “It is clear from emerging studies that body composition health will be vital in treatment decisions, prognostic outcomes, and quality of life in several nonclinical and clinical states.” My guess is that it will not just be the absolute or relative amount of lean tissue mass that is important. Rather, similar to the increasingly recognised role of differences amongst fat depots, I would assume that different lean soft tissue depots may well play different roles in metabolic health. @DrSharma Charlottetown, PEI
Building on the resounding success of Kananaskis, Montreal and Vancouver, the biennial Canadian Obesity Summit is now setting its sights on Toronto. If you have a professional interest in obesity, it’s your #1 destination for learning, sharing and networking with experts from across Canada around the world. In 2015, the Canadian Obesity Network (CON-RCO) and the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons (CABPS) are combining resources to hold their scientific meetings under one roof. The 4th Canadian Obesity Summit (#COS2015) will provide the latest information on obesity research, prevention and management to scientists, health care practitioners, policy makers, partner organizations and industry stakeholders working to reduce the social, mental and physical burden of obesity on Canadians. The COS 2015 program will include plenary presentations, original scientific oral and poster presentations, interactive workshops and a large exhibit hall. Most importantly, COS 2015 will provide ample opportunity for networking and knowledge exchange for anyone with a professional interest in this field. Abstract submission is now open – click here Key Dates Notification of abstract review: January 8, 2015 Call for late breaking abstracts open: Jan 12-30, 2015 Notification of late breaking abstracts and handouts and slides due : Feb 27, 2015 Early registration deadline: March 3, 2015 For exhibitor and sponsorship information – click here To join the Canadian Obesity Network – click here I look forward to seeing you in Toronto next year! @DrSharma Montreal, QC