In obesity research, we are searching for the ‘holy grail’ in body
weight regulation by trying to understand the mechanism that the body
uses to keep us at a certain weight, a sort of ‘set-point’ or
Why is it, for example, that a person may be able to lose weight,
but within a few weeks, the weight creeps back up to where it was,
even though their calorie intake hasn’t increased? In
fact, in some cases, a person can put the weight back on even while
consuming fewer calories than before.
It’s as though there were some internal drive to get back to that
starting weight, a sort of switch that tweaks a person’s energy
expenditure until they’ve regained the kilos they had lost in dieting.
There’s been a lot of research over the years into this phenomenon
by a number of scientists. We are trying to pin-point where exactly in
the brain such a switch could be located, and we’re exploring whether
it’s something we could address with a medicine. If it is, then you
could imagine that one day, we might be able to help people with
obesity to ‘reset’ their weight to a new, healthier starting point.
For me, that’s a sort of scientific light-house, it’s what my team and
I are working towards, because if we’re successful, we could help
millions of people living with obesity.