China researchers link obesity to bacteria

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Chinese researchers have identified a bacteria which may cause obesity, according to a new paper suggesting diets that alter the presence of microbes in humans could combat the condition.

Researchers in Shanghai found that mice bred to be resistant to obesity even when fed high-fat foods became excessively overweight when injected with a kind of human bacteria and subjected to a rich diet.

The bacterium – known as Enterobacter – had been linked with obesity after being found in high quantities in the gut of a morbidly obese human volunteer, according to the report, written by researchers at Shanghai’s Jiaotong University.

The mice were injected with the bacterium for up to 10 weeks as part of the experiment.

The experiments show that the bacterium “may causatively contribute to the development of obesity” in humans, according to the paper published in the peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

A human patient lost over 30 kilograms in nine weeks after being placed on a diet of “whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods and prebiotics”, which reduced the bacterium’s presence in the patient’s gut to “undetectable” levels, the paper’s authors claim.

( via abc.net.au )

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