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Obesity research wins Fernström Prize
Date:9/11/2012

This year's Fernstrm Foundation Nordic Prize, worth SEK 1 million, goes to Professor Peter Arner from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, who conducts research on fat. His team was the first to show that fat cells are formed throughout one's lifetime, not just in childhood. He has also discovered certain genes that provide protection against the negative effects of fat cells and shown how fat cells are affected by abdominal obesity, which is more dangerous than fat in other parts of the body.

Shipowner Eric K. Fernstrm's foundation is based at the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University. The Foundation awards an annual Nordic prize of SEK 1 million and local prizes of SEK 100 000 each to promising young researchers at Sweden's six university medical faculties.

The Nordic Prize has prize money of SEK 1 million. This year's prize recognises Peter Arner's work to "increase understanding of the function and regulation of human fat tissue and its major significance in health and disease".

The old understanding in the research community was that the human body stopped forming fat cells in adolescence. Now, however, thanks to the work of Peter Arner and others, we know that roughly ten per cent of all fat cells are renewed each year. The fat in the fat cells is also replaced several times during the lifetime of the cells. The turnover of both fat cells and fat content in the cells can change with certain common conditions.

"With such a rapid rate of renewal, it should be possible to influence the fat cells to increase or reduce fat production", says Peter Arner. A fat cell moderating substance would of course be a huge hit on the dieting market. However, Peter Arner is not really interested in the cosmetic possibilities.

"Obesity in itself is not usually a hereditary disease, but rather a condition that is best countered with exercise and the right diet!" he stresses.

As a doctor, he wants to focus on fat-related
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Contact: Peter Arner
peter.arner@ki.se
46-705-798-121
Lund University
Source:Eurekalert

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