This New York Times article by Kevin Corbet has some fascinating information about grizzly hibernation. It turns out that the physical changes associated with grizzly bear hibernation are extensive and amazing and may provide clues for controlling human obesity . . .
Clinically speaking, about 1.5 billion people worldwide are overweight. According to the World Health Organization, more than 10 percent of the world’s adults are obese, arguably making them the largest patient population in existence. We can debate the causes, but the long-term consequences of obesity — diabetes, heart disease, cancer — place huge burdens on our society. Public health campaigns have made little impression on this spreading medical crisis.
The biotechnology industry, where I work, strives to develop therapies for the greatest unmet medical needs. Can it provide a solution to a problem for which, so far, there have been few clinical responses? Only three drugs are currently approved for long-term treatment of obesity; they promote moderate weight loss and often have significant side effects.
Why don’t we have better options? It’s not as if very smart people with lots of resources aren’t trying.