Time to confess: how many an amateur Nordie have you come across sporting a bit of a stomach,
spilling over that tight waistband of his Lycra-enhanced ski racing suit?
And does that include the man you see every day in the mirror?
If you are one of us, perennial “love handles” fighters – rejoice!
Because the good scientists at the Columbia University Medical Center have just come up with a skin patch that dissolves the said ‘love handles’ – in overfed mice so far, but that’s a start, ain’t it?
According to the story in Science Daily, quoting the authors of the research, “Microneedle skin patch that delivers fat-shrinking drug locally could be used to treat obesity and diabetes”.
“Not all fat is equal,” says Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University Hospital Bonn. Humans have two different types of fat: undesirable white fat cells which form bothersome “love handles,” for example, as well as brown fat cells, which act like a desirable heater to convert excess energy into heat.
The fat converting patch is applied directly on “affected areas” i.e. on our not-so-loved “love handles” and over time gradually and painlessly injects drugs into underlying tissue.
“There are several clinically available drugs that promote browning, but all must be given as pills or injections,” said study co-leader Li Qiang, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at CUMC. “This exposes the whole body to the drugs, which can lead to side effects such as stomach upset, weight gain, and bone fractures. Our skin patch appears to alleviate these complications by delivering most drugs directly to fat tissue.”
It’s doubtful that the scientists had us, skiers in mind – but it does look like a custom-tailored miracle
pill patch: not just assisting in getting rid of that fat that slows us down on uphills – but helping to keep us warm elsewhere on the distance. Wrap me one!
Columbia University Medical Center. “Skin patch dissolves ‘love handles’ in mice: Microneedle skin patch that delivers fat-shrinking drug locally could be used to treat obesity and diabetes.”
Photo courtesy of Zhen Gu, UNC and NC State