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Study: The right bacteria might help fight obesity

September 5, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The right type of germs might be able to help fight fat.

That’s the finding of scientists at Washington University in St. Louis. They say different kinds of bacteria that live inside the gut can help spur obesity or protect against it.

The researchers transplanted intestinal germs from fat or skinny people into mice, and watched the rodents change. And whether or not the good germs could move in and do their job was determined by what they ate.

The report raises the possibility of one day turning gut bacteria into personalized fat-fighting therapies. And it may also help explain why some people have a harder time losing weight than others do.

The research is reported in the journal Science.

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APPHOTO WX107: This handout photo provided by the Washington University School of Medicine shows Dr. Jeffrey Gordon and graduate student Vanessa Ridaura of Washington University in St. Louis example samples of gut bacteria taken from fat or lean people. Their research transplanted human intestinal microbes into germ-free mice and found certain bugs may help fight obesity, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, at the university in St. Louis. Call it a hidden ally: The right germs just might be able to help fight fat. Different kinds of bacteria that live inside the gut can help spur obesity or protect against it, say scientists at Washington University in St. Louis who transplanted intestinal germs from fat or lean people into mice and watched the rodents change. And what they ate determined whether the good germs could move in and do the job. (AP Photo/Elizabethe Holland, Washington University School of Medicine) (5 Sep 2013)

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