Obesity, present and future therapies

Published on November 30, 2015   25 min

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Other Talks in the Series: Obesity

Other Talks in the Series: Obesity: Science, Medicine and Society

"Obesity, Present and Future Therapies." I'm Steve Bloom and I'm a physician who looks after patients with diabetes at Hammersmith Hospital in North London, but I'm also an academic and my research area in Imperial College, London, is the mechanisms by which we control our appetite with a view to trying to cure obesity.
So one of the first questions to ask is why do we over eat? Well, in a nutshell, it's summer all the time. So mankind tends to have more children than the parents, so an average set of parents will have six, seven, eight, nine children. During evolution, there wasn't of course a constant increase of food and so these children had to fight for the food source. In a good year, they would all survive, but when the rains failed for a few years, they were subject to chronic starvation. And only those who conserved energy and grabbed all the food they could, survived and passed on their genes to the current Homo sapiens populations, so we are the inheritors of, shall we say, sloth and greed, but this is a natural circumstance to make the energy go further. We've now changed the environment. There's delicious, high calorie food available 24 hours a day and absolutely no need for exercise. You go up in the elevator, et cetera. So the consequences are that we're all becoming obese. We haven't evolved to be obese. We evolved to be fighting for food and everybody very thin. Unfortunately, our metabolism is suited for this thin habitus. And we now, therefore, have a metabolic disequilibrium which causes early death due to obesity.