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Flu apps, fat transplants and a synthetic poo to treat Clostridium difficile

The new cure for combating obesity and diabetes? A transplant of…. fat, according to the Daily Mail.

Scientists have discovered that they could be barking up the wrong tree with liposuction, stomach stapling and other methods of weight loss surgery. They have discovered that transplanting ‘brown’ fat, which helps weight loss by generating heat and boosting metabolism, could aid weight loss and prevent diabetes. The brown fat burns the dreaded wobbly ‘white fat’ which sits under the skin and is caused by eating too much.

Scientists at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston transplanted brown fat into mice, and compared them with mice fed on a standard or high fat diet. Eight to twelve weeks after transplantation, mice fed on a normal diet not only significantly decreased body weight, but also improved insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, reducing the risk of diabetes. 

And from fat to faeces, the Daily Mail brings us more bizarre news. Scientists have developed a synthetic ‘poo’ which could cure intestinal infections caused by the superbug Clostridium difficile.

The bacteria from a stool transplant can ‘reset’ the gut, allowing the body to overcome the infection when toxin-producing C. difficle multiplies in the gut after healthy bacteria have been wiped out by antibiotics. Patients find the idea of a stool sample taken from another person uncomfortable, so scientist from the University of Guelph have developed a substitute called RePOOPulate, which has been tested on two elderly patients with C Diff infections.

The patients tested negatively for C. difficle six months later, and didn’t see the return of the superbug despite taking antibiotics for other infections later on.

‘It’s an exciting finding,’ said microbiologist Emma Allen-Vercoe, who developed the treatment.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that lowering the age of consent for sex and allowing public nudity were among ideas suggested by the Prime Minister’s policy unit, when drawing up laws to extend personal freedoms.

Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the idea of lowering the age for sexual consent as ‘offensive’, and it was also rejected by deputy PM Nick Clegg, said the paper.

A ‘Freedoms Bill’ to limit the scope of the state and extend our freedoms was announced as a priority at a recent joint appearance at Downing Street this week.

At the appearance, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg said:  ‘As we take steps to reshape the British state for the 21st century, we will take further steps to limit its scope and extend our freedoms’

Over at the Guardian we find news of an app called ‘Help, I Have the Flu’ developed in America, which scan your friends’ broadcasts on social media and lets you know who is infected with the virus, so you can avoid them, or blame them if you’ve already caught the bug.