This week and last week in class we have been discussing energy expenditure, obesity and diabetes in class. While preparing for this week’s blog assignment, I cam across and interesting post on scienceblog.com titled, “Preventing Muscles Lose, Obesity, and Diabetes.” The post goes on to describe a research project that is taking place at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). They are researching a protein, that if suppressed, it can halt muscle loss in chronically ill patients, as well as fight obesity, and combat diabetes.
The protein is called myostatin and it is responsible for the break down of the mitochondria, which is the cell wall. The Article explains that under normal circumstances this is a normal procedure. However the article states “when a patient is suffering from chronic diseases or is bedridden (and muscles are not used often), this process is disrupted due to high levels of myostatin which results in increased mitochondrial loss and muscle atrophy.”
I found this to be interesting because it once again shows harmful results of a sedentary lifestyle. Granted these people are not sedentary by choice, however it would be interesting to look at people who live highly sedentary life styles and see if this same event is occurring.
Still this study isn’t just related to muscle loss. It also states that inhibiting the protein can help increase fat utilization, which could both help decrease obesity, and can curb the number of people who contract Type II diabetes.
Other interesting results of the study showed, “People who exercise regularly have been found to have lower levels of myostatin as compared to those who do not. Studies have also found that older people have more myostatin and this can explain why when one ages, muscles become weaker.”
It shall be very interesting to see how the further research progresses. It would be interesting to see if this could possibly help people who live much more sedentary lives, whether they are a 9-5 guy who works in a cubicle for eight hours each day, or for those who are bed-ridden and unable to maintain any for of exercise.