The Obesity Issue

Volume 29 Issue 11 | November 2015

Featured Articles

image: 2015 Life Sciences Salary Survey

2015 Life Sciences Salary Survey

By Karen Zusi and Amanda B. Keener | November 1, 2015

This year’s survey highlights dramatic regional, sector, and gender variations.

image: Breaking the Cancer-Obesity Link

Breaking the Cancer-Obesity Link

By Stephen D. Hursting, Ciara H. O’Flanagan, and Laura W. Bowers | November 1, 2015

Obese people are at higher risk for developing cancer, have worse prognoses once diagnosed, and are often resistant to chemotherapy regimens. The question is, Why?

image: Obesogens


By Kerry Grens | November 1, 2015

Low doses of environmental chemicals can make animals gain weight. Whether they do the same to humans is a thorny issue.




Meet some of the people featured in the November 2015 issue of The Scientist.


Weight's the Matter?

The causes and consequences of obesity are more complicated than we thought.  

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

November 2015's selection of notable quotes


Heady Stuff

New research on how fat influences brain neuronal activity


Obesity appears linked to the gut microbiome. How and why is still a mystery—but scientists have plenty of ideas.

The 6,000-Calorie Diet

Overeating and inactivity lead to insulin resistance in just days—and oxidative stress is to blame.

A Weighty Anomaly

Why do some obese people actually experience health benefits?

Critic at Large

The Changing Face of Obesity

Science tells us obesity is a chronic disease. Why does the outmoded and injurious notion that it is a problem of willpower persist?

Coming to Grips with Obesity

Science is approaching a better understanding of the increasingly prevalent disease; the consequences of succeeding in this quest are great.

Modus Operandi

Bile Benefits

Diverting the bile duct around a long stretch of the small intestine could treat obesity without cutting out chunks of the digestive tract.

The Literature

Fanning the Flames

Obesity triggers a fatty acid synthesis pathway, which in turn helps drive T cell differentiation and inflammation.

Adding Padding

Adipogenesis in mice has alternating genetic requirements throughout the animals’ lives.

Fat Saps Muscle

The accumulation of fat within skeletal muscle, as happens with obesity, diminishes muscle performance.


The Skinny on Fat Cells

Bruce Spiegelman has spent his career at the forefront of adipocyte differentiation and metabolism.

Scientist to Watch

Shingo Kajimura: Fishing for Answers

Assistant Professor, Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California, San Francisco. Age: 39

Lab Tools

Cracking the Complex

Using mass spec to study protein-protein interactions

Remote Mind Control

Using chemogenetic tools to spur the brain into action

Bio Business

Battling the Bulge

Weight-loss drugs that target newly characterized obesity-related receptors and pathways could finally offer truly effective fat control.

Reading Frames

Embracing the Unknown

Researchers are showing that ambiguity can be essential to brain development.

Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

The Psychology of Overeating, The Hidden Half of Nature, The Death of Cancer, and The Secret of Our Success


Deadly Bariatrics, 1960s and '70s

Resecting a majority of the small intestine—a popular weight-loss surgery half a century ago—led to severe malnutrition and eventual death.

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