Thursday, September 22, 2011

Change Your Fat to Make You Thin?

I'm on Oprah's mailing list. There. I've confessed. I keep an eye on Oprah. Anyway, today, the subject line of one of her emails intrigued me: "Fat that makes you thin." So, I opened it. I think I was hoping to discover some new oil that tasted like butter but worked in the body like fiber. I can dream, can't I?

Instead, at Oprah.com, I found this tidbit:
Fat to Make You Thin
After Johns Hopkins researchers genetically reprogrammed a small part of the DNA in the brains of rats, some of the animals' lumpy white fat transformed into brown fat, the type that actually burns calories. The scientists hypothesize that messages from the altered hypothalamus woke dormant brown-fat stem cells and prompted them to make new tissue. Afterward the mice gained little weight, even when fed fattening chow.

How Soon: The goal is to make these kinds of tweaks to human DNA within a decade.
Read more here: Scientific Advances in Changing the Human Body

As anyone who's read my BlogHer post, "The Cylons Cometh," may gather, I am leery of this coming age of changing the human body via high tech. I've read and seen too much science fiction about bad outcomes after scientists interfere in nature, I guess. However, what's scarier is that the bad outcomes are not all fiction, a fact which becomes clear when you look at the negative side effects that have sometimes resulted from scientific interference in the food industry.

And yet, I have told family and friends often that if science comes up with a way to change human DNA so that we don't gain weight so easily, I might be the first in line for that injection. I'm one of those people who can smell cake and gain weight.

Unfortunately, by the time science figures out how to turn bad, white, lumpy fat into the good brown stuff, I'll be too old to be a good candidate for genetic alteration. Sigh. Sucks for me, but it still may be good news for the folks under 30 right now.

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