Because I listen to my iPod while I'm coding documents at work, I've become progressively more sick and tired of the majority of my music. I can't sit here and code in silence, though. That would drive me nuts. So last weekend I went on a podcast search and discovered the wealth of podcasts that is npr.org. Not only do they have podcasts of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, which my dad and I used to listen to while running errands on the weekends, but they have topical podcasts as well.
For instance, this morning I was listening to a medical call-in show out of Monterey, CA, and heard an interesting snippet about rimonabant, a cannabinoid blocker that supposedly helps with weight loss. That's right, cannabinoid - as in, cannabis. As in pot. (And now I've just opened myself up to all sorts of crazy google hits).
Apparently researchers noticed that when you smoke pot, you get the munchies. You don't say. I've never smoked pot myself (and I'm not just saying that in a Clinton, I never inhaled kind of way, although I have been around it and have determined that the whole "contact high" thing is not true at all), but everyone knows about the munchies. So the researchers thought, "I wonder why that happens?" because they're researchers and they get grants and things for thinking like that. They determined that we have receptors in our brains that respond to pot in a way that makes us hungry.
So they tried to figure out how to block the aptly named cannabinoid receptors and came up with rimonabant. Not only did the subjects lose weight, but they also had better cholesterol and insulin levels than people who lost the same amount of weight without rimonabant.
Of course there are side effects, and if the subjects were taken off the drug, they tended to re-gain, but I wonder if this could be a serious option for severely obese people who don't necessarily want to go the surgery route. I also wonder if the drug is taken in conjunction with a food and exercise plan, that the good habits developed would maintain the weight loss after the individual stops taking the drug.