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Would You? Could You? Maybe Soon You Can (The Anti-Obesity Pill!)

Sunday, April 07, 2013

This is no joke. Shouting at me from Google News in 32-point bright blue font this AM was the following headline:

"Soon, obesity pill that rewires brain into feeling full"

The article discusses a medical research paper that has identified a population of stem cells capable of generating new appetite-regulating neurons in the brains of young and adult rodents. Now I'm not all that rodent-like last I checked (a sloth, OK and elephantine for sure, but mice and I have little in common save for an affinity for cheese). Still, if "safe" (and there might be the rub) would you take a pill and change what for many of us, is who-and-what-we are.

Ethics moment. Psycho-babble moment too. I wonder the following:

1. Would lasting weight loss, thus achieved, feel like cheating? Would others view it thusly? Does it matter what anyone else says or thinks?

2. Would we who manage to lose it on "the pill" but not so much otherwise, garner less self-esteem and accolades from others, because of the biochemical approach rather than the sweat-equity one?

3. Are the health benefits of weighing less so compelling that the methods do not matter but only the result? Would an obese Machiavelli take the pill?

4. What does it teach our kids? Think about this one. Think a lot.

5. Are you so intrigued by this that you stand in line as a volunteer for the "human field trials' that must be right around the corner?

OK, Sparkies, you and I have perspectives on this different than the population as a whole. We have/had weight to lose, but we did or are doing something about it ourselves here. Is this tantamount to a possibly-dangerous crib sheet? Is it worth it? I could blog on and on. Here is the article hyperlink:


Comments welcome. (prediction - this will be a lively blog...) Go!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm with those who say that I don't think this would work for me for the simple reason that my overeating has nothing to do with 'appetite'. Cravings, enjoyment of food, yes, but I'm quite happy to keep eating long after I am physically satiated.

    I guess for me I'll have to keep on eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking water.

    2755 days ago
    Soooo, when will SparkPeople begin selling ad space for THE P ILL (this one, not the one for birth control)...

    I'm sure the camps will line up just like they do on the whole surgery for weight loss issue, and I keep dodging the crosshairs for that one from friends and family who have had the surgery and go on record as "no regrets", yet when I see them in person, it appears to be an ongoing battle for them. Hmmm.

    I'm a lot leery of all these Frankensteinian modified body parts, stem cells, even if they are my cells, that whole issue, what little I do know of it, just doesn't "feel right" to me. Nothing logical or illogical that I can state right now.

    2755 days ago
    A pill can't teach you how to eat right and exercise.
    2755 days ago
    I'm certain it will be cause of the impending zombie apocalypse!

    Make sure your are doing your cardio. Don't want to become a human happy meal...
    2757 days ago
    We have become a society looking for that magic pill . I am sure they would be $$$$$ and who wants to depend upon pill for ever . it reminds me of when the weight loss surgery was popular in the 1970's no one considered the side effects. and that the person had to follow directions and eat small healthy meals no put any thing they wanted into their mouth. soon had so many medical issues they had to have the surgery undone and never did lose the weight. I would rather Spark along and learn how to eat healthy and exercise. so i would not be in line for the pill. but you did leave us with a lot to consider.
    2758 days ago
    I'm thinking Beach Boys - "Wouldn't it be nice?"
    2758 days ago
    If it's safe and effective, it may have a place for some people. But most of the people I meet here are emotional eaters, and feeling full never stopped an emotional eater from eating more.
    2759 days ago
    There is no magic pill. No deus ex machina. No fat fairy.

    There are real things we can do right now to get slim, fit and healthy. Most of it is motivation, and the rest is nutrition & exercise.
    2759 days ago
  • NOMIS1
    A pill does not address the emotional component of eating. I can be full and still eat.
    2759 days ago
    Wow. That is quite a question. I think I'd prefer not to medicate and just continue down the path I am currently on.
    2759 days ago
    You pose a very interesting question... to medicate or not to medicate?

    My thoughts are no, I would not take this "pill." Why? Several reasons in my experiences and lessons of the last year and a half:

    1. My weight is not the result of my appetite. Therefore why mess with my natural balance of appetite-regulating neurons? My weight issues are much more a by product of making unhealthy food choices at times when I am not hungry for reasons other than hunger. This I know and accept this to be true.

    2. Even if brain alterations were done on my appetite, in addition to #1, I would still have the tendency to not move and exercise my body as much as it needs to be healthy and strong. So if by some chance I were to lose weight with a appetite rewire, I would still not be physically or emotionally healthy.

    3. I have living, breathing, undeniable proof that what I have been learning, practicing, and the progress I have been making over the last 1 1/2 years, is what I need to do to achieve the weight, level of health, and well-being that I desire. I understand that I am not getting this day in age's expected immediate response, quick fix, instant gratification, but darned if I am not moving closer to my dream and frankly I feel quite proud of my personal growth and progress! I am doing this!

    No, sir! No pills for me! I don't believe merely altering my appetite would achieve the same level of success and overall lifestyle improvement that I am now experiencing and continually able to look forward to.

    emoticon on the anti-obesity pill!

    2759 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/7/2013 9:08:34 PM
    If that pill is proven to be effective and risk free, it certainly has a place. I had a gastric lap band placed a little over two years ago. Without it I doubt that I would ever have been able to adopt the healthy lifestyle I enjoy now. My self image has improved and I believe I've added at least twenty years to my life. If I could have reached this place without the risks of surgery, I would have been happy to use an effective risk-less pill. I would use whatever was the best tool to save my own life and if others feel I was cheating, at least I'd be around to feel their scorn.

    BOSS61, you posed an excellent question, and I'm glad you are proactively directing other Sparkers to the discussion. These are very insightful comments.
    2759 days ago
    I like Patrick's comparison of this to weight loss surgery. Suppose this turns out to be true, safe effective, affordable, and not over-hyped. (Yeah, I don't believe that either; but bear with me.) Assuming all of the foregoing, I think it will still be a partial solution for a subset of people who need to lose weight.

    Why? Because it isn't all about appetite. Even before SP, I recognized that I had issues with social eating, boredom eating, and stress eating. None of these are hunger eating, and they're only tangentially related to having appetite. The very act of eating is part of a complex system of dealing with emotions and social cues that have nothing to do with nutrition or hunger.

    Now, at goal weight and maintaining, have I conquered these problems? Not really. I'm just more aware of them, and do better damage control. I'm still tempted to eat in social situations, and I give in to temptation some of the time. I still feel the urge to eat from boredom and stress, even when I know I'm not feeling hunger. How do I maintain? I'm aware of the urges, and when (not if, but when) I give in and eat something for stress or boredom, it gets tracked and worked into the daily nutrition.

    That would still be necessary even if I had a magic pill that cured my physical appetite. The physical appetite may be key for some people; but it's not key for a lot of people.

    In practice, I think this will turn out to be either an over-hyped non-solution, or something one step removed from weight loss surgery that is appropriate for a minority of people. If it works, the people who can be helped will need psychological and medical support services to turn pill-generated appetite removal into weight loss and health improvement.
    2760 days ago
    It will be interesting to see how this progresses. I feel I'd be a hypocrite if I dismissed this out of hand, as the miracles of modern medicine are what allowed me to succeed in my healthy lifestyle (WLS), and we have seen some very amazing results from medicines for many other health issues. My biggest concerns: 1) abuse by people who do not need to lose weight; 2) people who do need to lose weight but do not adopt a healthy lifestyle while on a pill.

    My WLS surgeon tells the story of one of his patients who I believe weighed something like 500 pounds when he had surgery. First 100 came off very quick as you might expect, but then it stopped and the patient starting to regain. Thankfully he came in to talk to my surgeon, and when they started to look at what he was eating they discovered he was drinking like 6 "big gulp" sweet teas a day! Once they got him to stop doing that, the weight started to drop off and I believe this same man is now in the 200's weight wise! The point here being is that a pill or surgery won't fix everything -- you still have to eat (and drink) smart to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

    2760 days ago
  • DRB13_1
    creative blog far, I know weight loss is not in a pill...
    Speaking of weight loss "pills" - Sensa is being lauded by certain actresses who have lost weight using it. I tried to find the ingredients and decided SENSA IS PUTTING DIRT ON YOUR MEALS - no wonder your appetite drops and you lose weight...
    I've also thought about some "weight loss pills" and compare them to poison - is it REALLY worth it???
    My two cents...
    2760 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Luckily there are sarcasm emoticons.

    Ok, speaking for what I'm sure will be the minority perspective here in Sparkyland ...

    I think medical and/or scientific help for significant life threatening conditions is good news. Obesity is a significant and potentially life threatening condition.

    I think the value laden judgments that can be associated with method of weight loss is potentially harmful to one's children and one's peace of mind.

    We all know this isn't easy. The BIG numbers who drop off the Sparky message lists. The ones who stay and moan about plateaus. The ones who lose, gain, lose, gain, over and over. And even the ones who lose and continue to track every bite in fear of gaining it all back. THIS is not a science. THIS does not work for everyone. Success or failure does not necessarily equate with motivation. Or persistence. Or knowledge. Or sweat equity.

    What would I do? I'm one of those folks who could not lower my cholesterol with diet or exercise. Same for my blood pressure. It's hardwired as high BUT medication lowered both to safe numbers. (Thank you grandparents!) I'm willing to risk the side effects for the benefits of my prescriptions. Add another pill to the cocktail if it helps lower another risk factor --- called obesity? It's not a question of morality. Sign me up.
    2760 days ago
    Depending on the side-effects, this could be a great alternative for some people. Weigh surgery risks vs. the risks of taking a pill. My legal assistant is dangerously overweight, and cannot/will not make lasting lifestyle changes. Her blood pressure is crazy high. She has a family history of diabetes. What a blessing this could be for her.

    While your questions are absolutely valid, for some people the ends will justify the means.
    2760 days ago
    I don't think a pill is an answer, but I can understand why it would appeal to many. Hopefully people could refrain from judging others.

    A lifestyle change is essential. It is all about small changes like learning not to skip breakfast or using the stairs versus the elevator to help you get started. I think the biggest part of weight loss is the sense of pride and accomplishment you feel. Yesterday I beat three of my best scores on the wii fit. It made my day! Am I ready for a 5k? NO, not even close, but I was so proud of myself and I kept that proud feeling all day. My boyfriend kept complimenting me on how happy I looked. Then I stepped on the scale this morning for weigh in day and I was down another pound and once again I'm proud. I know I wouldn't have that same feeling from a pill and I would hate to deprive myself of the joy I'm experiencing meeting these mini goals I make on my way to my long term goals.

    If they find that people lack the ability to feel full and this pill helps that I guess there is something to be explored, but I think most people just really need to look at their lives and put in some small changes to get started. Of course it's up to us sparkies to help spread the spark so they know about this great website too! I think people are just looking for quick fixes all of the time that they are looking for quick weight loss fixes too and change takes time.
    2760 days ago
    Feeling full comes from a complex set of hormones if you're getting proper nutrition. If a person has problem feeling full, it is most likely because their leptin levels are not functioning properly. Junk food diet is a common cause. An anti obesity pill could essentially compensate for the low leptin, but the person would still be getting poor nutrition - thin, but unhealthy.
    2760 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/7/2013 10:47:43 AM
  • no profile photo CD13099273
    No , I believe that this pill is another scam ( fen fen) emoticon comes to mind another little helper from Mommies little shelf. Food ( fatty foods and processed foods cause Cancer , Diabetes and so forth ) exercise does help. I can see Gastric Bypass as a way of curving Obesity if necessary but controlling the mind by the way we feed, Rats , No.

    When are people going to realize how their body functions and that enzymes are key to weight loss and a healthy a body system . Yes , nutrients , minerals and so forth to digest the good food the correct way to eliminate disease and fat- Cancer ( Think Outside the Box ) written by Ty Bollinger - good read - been there done that - have Medical Degree- This pills is to make $$$$$$ - Good Blog -
    2760 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/7/2013 9:16:57 AM
    Lifestyle changes are what it is all about. A pill is not going to do anything for self-esteem issues, nor change habits so we incorporate exercise and good nutrition into our habits.

    Like many other physical challenges, medications can HELP, but the pills are NOT the cure.

    Having been on this caravan since 2010, I have learned for sure that weight loss isn't just a physical process, it is an emotional and spiritual process too, so if those are ignored, the changes will not be lasting.

    What are the long term affects of this pill?? Not known. Hmmmm.. fen fen looked like a good idea too, until it was found to be a very BAD idea.

    For me, no thanks. I'll do it with lifestyle changes.

    IF, however, down the line, the pill in long term studies is effective and safe, and people choose to use it, so be it! Honestly, those who pass judgment on that . . . well . . . ignore 'em!

    Personally, I think it would help so much if kids were educated about the ins and outs of proper nutrition, ads touting all those "tasty foods" were replaced with advertising HEALTHY foods and healthy body image was promoted.

    VERY interesting blog and I am SURE this is going to be a chart-topper with responses.
    2760 days ago
  • KATHRYN1955
    Hmmmm.....just read the article. Even if "they" come up with such a pill with minimal side-effects, I am not sure that if we aspire to optimal health, that we can get away with being thin and sitting at our desks all day. Even at goal weight, it would seem that we still need a certain amount of aerobic and strength activities to maintain our various bodily functions and prevent future complications.
    We need to get to the point where all the huffing and puffing and sweating at the gym is not about weight loss; it is something we need to do regardless if we feel full or hungry or are fat or thin or anywhere in between.
    Bottom line...would I take such a pill....tempting, but knowing the pharmaceutical industry's history, no I would not. There are no free lunches.

    2760 days ago
    It's a pill that makes you feel full, not feel like a better person. If one bases their self-esteem, their worth as a person and as a role model for their children, etc... on whether they are taking a pill for it, they are putting too much emphasis on weight loss. Weight loss and/or being heavy should not define a person. And taking a pill to help them achieve that goal doesn't make them less of a person for it. It's not the "easy way out" just like using a patch to quit smoking isn't "taking the easy way out." Pill or no pill, changing your life is admirable - whether or not fat loss is involved.

    Exercise (not weight loss!) is associated with all sorts of health benefits: lowered risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, less depression, improvement in chronic diseases, improved memory and reduced risk of dementia, etc... All of these are achieved through exercise, but yet people are hung up on "weight loss" instead. This pill is just another example of how the Diet and Weight Loss Industry/Empire keeps our focus on feeling bad about ourselves instead of focused on improving our health and well-being through feeling empowered. "All my problems can be solved with this pill!" except that - our problems are solved by taking control of our lives (with or without a pill to help us).
    2760 days ago
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