Obesity and Diabetes


Obesity affects more than 400 million subjects in the world and projections for the next 15 years predict an overall prevalence of up to 20%. Besides its direct impact on life quality, obesity is a major risk factor for life-threatening diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis and certain types of cancer. Behavioral approaches attempting to correct nutritional overload and increase physical activity have generally failed to revert or even slow-down the rate of progression of this disease. In addition, the pharmacological compounds currently approved for use have a number of side effects and lead to body mass reduction that only eventually go beyond 15%.

Obesity results from the failure of the homeostatic control of caloric intake and energy expenditure. Most of this control is exerted by a complex network of hypothalamic neurons that integrate hormone, nutrient and neuronal signals involved in the sensing and responsiveness to the fluctuations of the body energy stores. Recent studies have placed hypothalamic dysfunction in a central position in the pathogenesis of obesity. We will present data from both experimental and human studies showing that saturated fats present in the western diet can activate hypothalamic inflammation which results in the defective control of energy homeostasis.

Short Bio

Licio A. Velloso is a Professor of Medicine at the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Campinas, Brazil. He is the Head of the Laboratory of Cell Signaling. Dr. Velloso obtained a MD from the University of Campinas Medical School in 1986. The PhD was obtained from the University of Uppsala in Sweden in 1993. He was a Post-Doctoral fellow at the Mario Saad Lab, University of Campinas, 1994 and a Post-Doctoral fellow at the Ron Kahn Lab, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard, 1995. Dr. Velloso research is focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the hypothalamic dysfunction in obesity and associated conditions. He has published more than 190 papers, which have been cited more than 4,600 times. Dr. Velloso H index is 36.