Doctors at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center found that injecting the hormone leptin into their patients who had lost weight helped them maintain weight loss by restoring pre-weight loss levels of leptin. The researchers theorized that, after a weight loss, a person's body is leptin-deficient, which causes the weight to be gained again. They then administered leptin injections bid to 10 patients who had lost 10% to 12% of their body weight. Most of the body's changes that typically work against maintaining a reduced body weight were reversed once the levels of leptin were restored to the higher levels seen before weight loss. Lead author Michael Rosenbaum, MD, said that therapeutics that target leptin may cause physiological processes to be restored to their usual levels so that "our bodies would work with us, rather than against us, in keeping the weight off."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.