Entries in monkey (4)


New Drug Attacks Fat, Helps Obese Monkeys Slim Down

Comstock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Scientists have developed a new drug that attacks excess body fat, and a new study reports that it helped a small group of obese monkeys lose weight. Experts say the drug's fat-attack mechanism is an intriguing approach to weight loss, but questions remain about the drug's effectiveness and safety in humans.

Previous diet drugs tried to help the body lose fat by increasing metabolism or by controlling the hunger pangs that make people want to eat more. But researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston designed the new drug Adipotide to attack the fat itself by destroying the blood supply that keeps it alive.

The researchers tested the drug in a small group of obese monkeys. After four weeks, the monkeys lost an average of 11 percent of their body weight. The drug also lowered the animals' Body Mass Index (BMI) and trimmed their waistlines. Lean monkeys who took the drug did not lose weight, suggesting that the drug selectively targeted the fat in obese monkeys.

The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Researchers say the fact that the drug worked in monkeys, the closest animal relatives of humans, makes them hopeful that the drug could be safe and effective in humans. The monkeys in the study were also similar to people in the way they packed on the pounds – by overeating and not exercising.

But despite the promise of these early results, the drug seems to share some of the problems that have plagued diet drugs and "magic bullet" obesity treatments in the past. Four weeks after the monkeys stopped taking the drug, they began to regain their weight.

Dr. Keith Ayoob, associate professor in pediatrics in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., said that fact makes the drug like many of its less-than-magical predecessors.

Arap acknowledged that the drug didn't seem to help the monkeys keep weight off, but he noted that the animals didn't change their lifestyles or diet the way that humans can.

Even if Adipotide proves to be successful in humans, the drug would have to travel the long regulatory road required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before it could be sold for weight loss. Experts have noted that the agency's approval process seems to be more rigorous for drugs aiming to fight obesity. The FDA nixed three weight-loss drugs submitted for approval in 2010, citing safety concerns.

Currently, only one drug is FDA-approved for weight loss: orlistat (sold as Xenical or Alli).

But the drug causes a number of unpleasant and damaging side effects, including liver damage, pancreatitis and kidney stones, according to a report from the consumer watchdog Public Citizen in April.

Adipotide produced some side effects in the monkeys in this current study, particularly in the kidneys. But the researchers noted that these were "generally mild and reversible."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Face of Chimpanzee Attack Victim Revealed

Charla Nash is seen after her May, 2011, face transplant at the hospital. (Brigham and Women's Hospital/Lightchaser Photography)(NEW YORK) -- The new face of Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman who was mauled by a chimpanzee two years ago, was revealed for the first time Thursday.

The photos of Nash were first shown on NBC's Today show Thursday morning and were later released by Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, where the surgery was performed in late May.

Nash is still recovering from the grueling 20-hour surgical marathon by a team of more than 30 doctors and nurses. An attempt to give her a pair of new hands failed, and the transplanted hands were removed.

Nash, 57, was helping her friend, Sandra Herold, lure her pet chimp Travis inside when the 200-pound animal ripped off her nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot and killed by police.

Since the 2009 attack that also left her blind, Nash wore a straw hat with a veil to cover her injuries, but revealed her mangled face on a November 2009 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Before the transplant, the woman’s family says Nash had to eat pureed food through a straw. Now, she will be able to eat and is looking forward to a trip to the family's hot dog stand in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Nash desperately wanted a simultaneous face and hand transplant -- a procedure that has been done only once before in France, and that patient later died. The procedure is complicated because of the precision and coordination necessary, and the increased risk of complications. Nash developed pneumonia and kidney failure after the transplant, which hampered circulation to the hands.

The hands and face both came from the same donor, but the hand transplant failed and they had to be removed, the doctors said. But Pomahac said the team "could transplant the hands again should a suitable donor be identified."

Nash is the third person to undergo a face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dallas Wiens received the nation's first face transplant patient there in March.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Suggests Birth Control Pills Don’t Cause Weight Gain

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(PORTLAND, Ore.) – New researched performed on monkeys shows that the notion of birth control pills causing weight gain is not necessarily true. A study conducted at the Oregon National Primate Research Center sought to counter the popular notion that oral contraceptives are a direct cause of added pounds.

"Issues surrounding weight are hard to study in humans, and the research thus far has been insufficient to demonstrate whether or not oral contraceptives cause weight gain or loss. But this is an extremely important question as concern about weight gain is one of the main reasons why women may avoid or discontinue birth control, which in turn places them at greater risk for an unplanned pregnancy,” said Alison Edelman, M.D., the lead author of the study.

The study took one group of overweight monkeys and another group of normal monkeys and over eight months, the two groups were given oral contraceptives. The researchers tracked the primates weight, food intake, activity levels, body fat and lean muscle mass. At the end of the study, the normal group did not have a fluctuation in weight, but the obese group ended up losing weight and body fat.

"This study suggests that worries about weight gain with pill use appear to be based more on fiction than on fact," said Judy Cameron, Ph.D., senior author of the paper and a researcher at the primate center. “We realize that research in nonhuman primates cannot entirely dismiss the connection between contraceptives and weight gain in humans, but it strongly suggests that women should not be as worried as they previously were."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Monkeys: They're Drunks Like Us 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The physiological and genetic similarities between humans and monkeys make the hairier primates a great stand-in for humans when it comes to understanding the causes and effects of alcohol consumption, scientists say. For years, researchers have studied how monkeys react when introduced to alcohol, how much they drink and more.

Here are just a few examples of how these jungle dwellers imbibe like human bar flies:

1. They Get Hooked Young: Scientists have found that monkeys who are introduced to alcohol in their adolescence are more likely to drink more alcohol when they get older than those who stay dry.

2. Slaking a Stressed-Out Thirst: Monkeys will drink more heavily when in a stressful situation.

3. Slurring Their Speech: Monkeys' lips droop and their speech patterns are impaired by alcohol use.

4. Social Drinker or Teetotaler? Monkeys can fall into different patterns of drinking, including abstinence, social drinking, heavy drinking, and abusive drinking.

5. Intoxicating Inheritance: As with humans, monkeys can be genetically predisposed to alcoholism.

6. The Hangover: Monkeys don't bounce back after a bender; They get hangovers and those who drink constantly can develop liver disease.

7. Grand Theft Alcohol: Monkeys aren't above stealing when they want to get their drink on -- wild monkeys have been known to swipe cocktails from patrons at tropical resorts. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio