Could this be the mechanism for weight loss from fidgeting?

In 1999 it was demonstrated that those who fidget are thinner:

Some people seem to be able to fidget away fat, according to a Mayo Clinic  study aimed at finding out why some stay slim when overeating, while others  gain weight.

The study, published Friday in the journal Science, involved 16 volunteers  fed 1,000 extra calories a day for eight weeks as instruments measured their  energy use.

At the end, some of the subjects gained as much as 16 pounds, others as  little as two.

The difference, says Dr. Michael Jensen of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,  Minnesota, was the “fidget factor.”

The result showed that it was not the gross movements, such as walking or  climbing stairs, that made the difference. It was the small, fidgeting-like  movements that separated the fast gainers from those who stayed slim.

Now it looks like there may be a mechanism for weight loss being produced by such tiny movements:

All he does is put mice on a platform that buzzes at such a low  frequency that some people cannot even feel it. The mice stand there for 15  minutes a day, five days a week. Afterward, they have 27 percent less fat than  mice that did not stand on the platform — and correspondingly more bone.

At first, he assumed that the exercise effect came from a forceful impact —  the pounding on the leg bones as a runner’s feet hit the ground or the blow to  the bones in a tennis player’s arm with every strike of the ball.

Over the years, he and his colleagues discovered that high-magnitude  signals, like the ones created by the impact as foot hits pavement, were not  the predominant signals affecting bone. Instead, bone responded to signals  that were high in frequency but low in magnitude, more like a buzzing than a  pounding.

That makes sense, he went on, because muscles quiver when they contract,  and that quivering is the predominant signal to bones. It occurs when people  stand still, for example, and their muscles contract to keep them upright. As  people age, they lose many of those postural muscles, making them less able to  balance, more apt to fall and, perhaps, prone to loss of bone.

“Bone is bombarded with little, teeny signals from muscle contractions,”  Dr. Rubin said.

These small contractions are reminiscent of the fidgeting effect.  Recently people have been figuring out that bones play a role in glucose metabolism:

Last summer, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center published  startling results showing that a hormone released from bone may help regulate  blood glucose.

When the lead researcher, Dr. Gerard Karsenty, first described the findings  at a conference, the assembled scientists “were overwhelmed by the potential  implications,” said Dr. Saul Malozowski, senior adviser for endocrine  physiology research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and  Kidney Diseases, who was not involved in the research. “It was coming from  left field. People thought, ‘Oof, this is really new.’

The signals produced by buzzing the bones fom fidgeting and other reasons seem to have an important effect on bone density and fat storage.

Thanks to Mickey for this one!

November 27, 2007

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