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Mayo Clinic discovers a key to 'low metabolism' and major factor in obesity

s food. We can encourage NEAT-seeking behaviors."

About the Study: Special Underwear

More than 150 personnel were involved in the planning, design, invention, food preparation and data analysis required over the course of about 10 years to produce this comprehensive study of the comparative energetics of lean and obese adults. To detect even the smallest tap of the toe, Mayo Clinic researchers invented a movement monitoring system that incorporates technology used in fighter-jet control panels. They embedded sensors in customized, data-logging undergarments that the researchers designed for both men and women. This allowed monitoring of body postures and movements of 10 obese people and 10 lean people every half second continuously, 24 hours a day for 10 days. The test subjects were healthy recruits who lived and worked in Rochester, and went about their normal routines during the study period. Only two things were forbidden: swimming and eating food the research center did not prepare.

Researchers issued fresh undergarments each morning at the hospital where the test subjects took all their meals. At this time the subjects were weighed, and the data on body position and activity from their underwear movement monitoring sensors was downloaded onto a computer.

"This instrumentation appears slightly bizarre as it gives us a covert window into people's energetics and every activity in a completely unthreatening way," says Dr. Levine. "But because of it, we have a window into people's activity life that no one's ever had before."

Role Reversal: Lean Become Stout; Stout Become Lean

For the next phase of the study, the researchers overfed the lean people by 1,000 calories a day to make them gain weight, and underfed the obese people by 1,000 calories a day to replicate an intense diet. Researchers then monitored their movements every half second for 10 days and compared the results. Even after losing we
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Contact: Bob Nellis
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
27-Jan-2005


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