Meet Shiva. Shiva is a fattened monkey used by scientists to study obesity and diabetes. With Shiva, they are trying to induce the couch-potatoe lifestyle, limiting his exercise and maximizing his caloric intake. February 20, 2011 NY Times article, “Today’s Lab Rats of Obesity: Furry, Fattened Couch Potatoes” describes the new studies being done on monkeys today. Although many animal rights activists are up in arms over the treatment of these poor little fellas, there has been a few breakthroughs.
For instance, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, a start-up company in Boston, tested it’s new diet drug on some of the monkeys, resulting in a 40 percent reduction in their food intake and a staggering 13 percent loss in weight, in just 8 weeks, and without any apparent heart problems. Another study indicated that when pregnant monkeys ate high-fat diets, their offspring had metabolic problems, and their babies were much more prone to anxiety. Other studies have indicated that eating a healthy diet during pregnancy, regardless of the mothers obesity, reduced troubles in the offspring; suggesting that the diet of a pregnant woman matters more than whether she is obese.
But why use primates over lab rats, or even humans? Experts say primates resemble humans more than lab rats, not only physiologically but in their feeding habits as well. Primates tend to eat when bored, just like humans, even when they are not really hungry. And unlike humans in human studies, primates can’t fudge their daily calorie or carbohydrate counts to scientists… which is something humans are apparently notorious for doing.
Diabetes is one of the worlds foremost health problems, and the seventh leading cause of death in the US. It’s important for everyone to fully be aware of their health status. In 2007 5.7 million people suffered from undiagnosed diabetes. Unsure if you might have diabetes? It’s possible that your dentist can help. For more information, read my previous blog: How your dentist could spot your undiagnosed diabetes.
Read the NY Times article:
Today’s Lab Rats of Obesity: Furry, Fattened Couch Potatoes