While diet and exercise is still one of the most popular (and effective) methods of losing weight it is certainly not the only method.
It seems every day a new solution is being thought of in the quest to beat the rising obesity rates across the globe.
Recently a group of researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) have managed to convert human skin cells into appetite suppressing neurons, which it is hoped will eventually lead to a cure for obesity.
How were these neurons created?
In order to create the neurons the team of researchers had to genetically reprogram human skin cells in order for them to become induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
As with natural stem cells, the iPS cells are able to develop into any kind of adult cell that can be given any number of molecular signals.
The team of researchers then transformed the cells into arcuate hypothalamic neurons, which are a form of neuron that could help to regulate your appetite.
What did the study discover?
In the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation it was shown that the transformation process took 30 days.
After this time period the neurons were found to display key functional properties of mouse arcuate hypothalamic neurons, including the ability to accurately process and secrete specific neuropeptides and to respond to metabolic signals such as insulin and leptin.
In simpler terms the team of researchers were able to create stem cells that could help to regulate appetite.
Although these initial tests were promising, it is very early days and likely more tests will need to be carried out in the future. Even before we can think of ways to make this treatment viable for the general public.
It seems that diet and exercise still has a place yet, so best make a start if you want to start losing a few of those excess pounds.