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Novel Method for Diagnosing and Treating Relapsed Obesity

Technology Number: 


Principal Investigator



Computer Science and Applied Mathematics

Obesity is the health epidemic of the modern world, with nearly half the global adult population being categorized as obese. The consequences of said mass obesity is that it is overwhelming the medical systems all over the world, as obesity is linked to numerous diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer. The challenge is not only in reducing obesity through weight loss programs, be it via dietary programs, bariatric surgery, and so on. The issue is in ensuring that the weight loss remains, as nearly 80% of those with successful initial weight loss, relapse to their previous obese state or worse. Consequently, there is a fundamental need to treat individuals to ensure that reduction of weight is maintained.

The collaborative efforts of Prof. Eran Segal and Prof. Eran Elinav have led to an innovation by understanding the gut microbiome. Whereby understanding the microbial population of the intestinal tract can be used to diagnose for future obesity relapse and possible bacterial populations and/or chemical agents that can assist in stopping weight gain.


  •   Diagnostic to test which populations are more susceptible to relapsed obesity

  •   A method of either using an agent or a specific bacterial population to reduce relapsed obesity

Technology's Essence

The research teams of Profs. Segal and Elinav investigated the role of the gut microbiome in obesity relapse. Using mouse models where they cycle between weight loss and weight gain, it was noted that gut microbial populations were altered after weight gain. Even after cycling to weight loss, said mice retained a microbial “memory”, such that specific populations of bacteria were indicative of weight re-gain. By using said bacterial populations, it is possible to diagnose and determine whom is most susceptible to relapsing obesity even after weight loss programs. Additionally, they discovered that maintaining or boosting certain bacterial populations can act as a method to ameliorate obesity relapse.

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