Nervous system activity may predict successful weight loss

A recent study of obese volunteers participating in a 12-week dietary weight-loss program found that successful weight losers had significantly higher resting nerve activity compared to weight-loss resistant individuals. The study was accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

The sympathetic is widely distributed throughout the body and subconsciously regulates many physiological functions including the control of resting metabolic rate and the dissipation of calories after food intake. The present study examined the relationship between activity of the sympathetic nervous system and outcome in a group of obese individuals on a low-calorie diet intervention program.

"We have demonstrated for the first time that resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is a significant independent predictor of weight-loss outcome in a cohort of overweight or obese subjects," said Nora Straznicky, PhD, of the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia and lead author of the study. "Our findings provide two opportunities. First, we may be able to identify those persons who would benefit most from lifestyle weight-loss interventions such as dieting. Secondly, the findings may also help in developing weight-loss treatments through stimulating this specific nervous activity."

In this study, researchers examined 42 overweight or obese subjects who had participated in dietary-lifestyle intervention trials that cut their daily caloric intake by 30 percent for 12 weeks. MSNA was measured by microneurography, a process involving the insertion of metal microelectrodes into nerve fascicles (a bundle of nerve fibers). Researchers found that weight loss was independently predicted by baseline resting MSNA.

"We also found that successful weight losers demonstrated large increases in following a carbohydrate test meal, whereas the responses were completely blunted in weight-loss resistant subjects," said Straznicky. "Our findings suggest a significant contribution of subconscious nervous system activity to the success of dietary weight loss."

More information: The article, "Baseline sympathetic nervous system activity predicts dietary weight loss in obese metabolic syndrome subjects," appears in the February 2012 issue of JCEM.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Appetite hormones may predict weight regain after dieting

Sep 09, 2010

Many people have experienced the frustration that comes with regaining weight that was lost from dieting. According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Me ...

Lose weight fast for lasting results, suggests new study

May 06, 2010

If you thought the best way to lose and maintain weight was the slow and steady approach, think again. A new study by Lisa Nackers and colleagues, from the University of Florida in the US, suggests that the key to long-term ...

Recommended for you

Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

12 hours ago

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), introduced in 2007, is a model of health care that emphasizes personal relationships, team delivery of care, coordination across specialties and care settings, quality ...

New mums still excessively sleepy after four months

14 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—New mums are being urged to be cautious about returning to work too quickly, after a QUT study found one in two were still excessively sleepy four months after giving birth.

It's time to address the health of men around the world

14 hours ago

All over the world, men die younger than women and do worse on a host of health indicators, yet policy makers rarely focus on this "men's health gap" or adopt programs aimed at addressing it, according to an international ...

User comments