Scientists discover the secret to battle the middle-aged bulge

Scientists say they have discovered a breakthrough that paves the way to creating a drug to quickly banish that middle-age “spare tyre” or “beer belly”. Losing weight around the middle is a battle that becomes harder as we age, and University of Aberdeen-led research has revealed why. Signals in the brain that tell us to stop eating function less efficiently as we approach mid-life. The researchers, along with experts at the universities of Cambridge and ­Michigan in the US, have worked together to unlock the role obesity drugs can play in re-igniting these signals.

These cells slow down and become lazier in sending these signals, which leads to a misjudgment of how much food our body needs.

Professor Lora Heisler, of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health

The good news is that these signals that stop us overeating can be reactivated through drugs which have already been developed to help obese people lose weight. A new drug, lorcaserin, which has been launched in the US, can switch the signal back on fully, but it is not yet licenced in the UK or Europe.

We’re heading in the right direction and drugs like this could be the Holy Grail in fighting the obesity epidemic.

Tam Fry, National Obesity Foundation, UK