Computer model predicts how our livers will store fat

Computer model developed to predict how ‘T09’ causes the liver to store fat could be used to predict liver fat storage for other drugs and conditions

As part of an effort to understand how an experimental drug for atherosclerosis causes the build-up of fat in the liver, scientists have developed a computer model that can predict how the rate at which liver stores fat in response to various situations. Being able to model liver fat storage gives researchers a way to predict the side effects of drugs and environmental factors at much earlier stages in the research and drug development process, possibly reducing the number of experiments involving animal models. Additionally, this computer simulation helps describe all of the possible ways in which the liver stores fat, including how the liver takes up or creates fats and how it disposes of fat. This knowledge could lay the foundation for future research regarding the liver and its functions. This was published in the April 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal.



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Fat to the Rescue

Adipocytes under the skin help fight infections by producing an antimicrobial agent


White blood cells, like neutrophils and macrophages, are well-known members of the team of that protects mammals from skin-invading pathogens. But a study published last week (January 2) in Science revealed that the body’s defense squad also includes a rather surprising member: fat. Not only do fat cells increase in number and size around the site of a skin infection, they also produce their very own antibiotic.

While white blood cells must first make their way to the site of infection, fat cells already in the area can react much faster, researchers from the University of California, San Diego Medical School have found. Richard Gallo and his colleagues injected mice with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), finding that the layer of fat around the injection site grew thicker because of increased numbers of fat cells, or adipocytes. Mice that couldn’t make new adipocytes were less able to combat MRSA infection than were control animals.


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How safe is eating meat?

There have been a lot of news reports about the health risks of meat eating, but are they justified? Dr Michael Mosley has been investigating the truth behind the headlines for BBC Horizon.

I like eating meat, but what was once an innocent pleasure is now a guilty one.

If you believe the headlines, regularly indulging in a steak or a bacon sandwich raises your risk of heart disease and cancer.

The threat to health comes not from eating white meat, like chicken, but from red and processed meat.

Despite the negative headlines, on average Brits still eat about 70g of red and processed meat a day, with a quarter of men eating almost twice as much.

My wife, Clare, who is a GP, has for many years been trying to cut our family’s consumption of red and processed meat. I, however, was resistant.

So we were both delighted when Horizon asked me to investigate what, if any, the risks really are.

I visited numerous experts, finding out what they themselves eat.

I also decided to go on a high-meat diet to see what effects doubling my intake to around 130g a day would have.


Read full story at BBC News