HMS Prof. to Further Weight Loss Study
Recent research conducted by scientists in Denmark suggests that the hormone GLP-1 may prove effective in treating individuals suffering from obesity.
Dr. Joel F. Habener of Harvard Medical School, who is conducting separate research studies on GLP-1, characterized the study as a "not established, unexpected, provocative development. [It] needs to be followed up."
Habener said he plans to continue his own research on GLP-1 in the near future with colleagues at the Medical School, which should prove more conclusive than the Danish study.
The Danish researchers treated twenty people with GLP-1 prior to serving them lunch. The subjects then chose what foods to eat. The study found that their food intake was 12 percent less than what it was when they were treated with a placebo under similar conditions.
Originally published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the Danish study used subjects with normal weight, studying them each for six hours.
Habener said he hopes to observe the effects of GLP-1 on obese people over the course of two months.
GLP-1 appears to be a safer treatment than recent popular weight-control drugs such as Redux, which has been linked to liver damage and dangerously-low sugar levels, Habener said.
Unlike these drugs, GLP-1 is naturally produced with every meal and is continually monitored by the body itself.
Other weight-control drugs are known to artificially stimulate appetite reduction, but scientists say they are unsure about the connection between GLP-1 and the brain.
Since its discovery about six years ago, GLP-1 has been studied for its effectiveness in treating patients who suffer from adeposegenic diabetes. Such patients experience an insatiable hunger that researchers hope to curb with GLP-1 treatments.
"Eighty percent of...individuals with Type II [diabetes] are obese," Habener said. "They go hand in hand."
Habener suggested that GLP-1 may be available as a marketable tablet within two or three years. He said certain pharmaceutical companies are already looking at a "buckle tablet" that could be attached to a person's gums.
Habener said that before GLP-1 can be marketed a long-term analysis of its safety and effectiveness will have to be conducted.