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Gut Microbes

February 11, 2009

Certain gut microbes could be related to obesity.


Microscopic fat-builders. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Many factors can contribute to obesity. Some scientists, like John DeBaise of the Mayo Clinic, are trying to find out if the trillions of microbes that live in our gut play a role. Recently, he enlisted scientists at Arizona State University’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology to survey the gut microbes of a small group of patients. Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown of Arizona State says they made an intriguing discovery in the obese patients.

ROSA KRAJMALNIK-BROWN (Arizona State University):
A team of microbes that help extract the most calories from our food.

Normal weight patients didn’t have these microbes in their guts, nor did formerly obese patients who had gastric bypass surgery. If the findings hold up, she hopes to find out if eradicating these microbes can help with weight loss – or if giving them to people in countries with food shortages will help them get the most out of each meal. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.