• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Science Note/Fat Mice Get Thin

Air Date: Week of

Photograph of an obese mouse next to an average sized mouse. (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

With endless access to food and inactive life styles, many laboratory mice are overweight. New research shows that giving mice more to think about – as opposed to more exercise – will cause them to burn calories. Living on Earth’s Jack Rodolico reports.



RODOLICO: Obesity isn't just a problem for people. Many laboratory mice are overweight too. Now, scientists have shown giving mice more to think about, can make them skinnier. Researchers at the University of Ohio put overweight mice in what they called an enriched environment - a large enclosure where they mingled with other mice. Toys and mazes were changed regularly, and the rodents were given plenty to eat.

In four weeks, the mice lost up to 70 percent of their belly fat. These social mice were compared with solitary mice that had access to a running wheel. The lonely mice exercised more, but the social mice still lost more fat. The scientists conclude it was the social and mental stimulation that helped them burn calories.

In a previous study, the research team found that living in a dynamic social setting slowed the growth of cancer in mice. Exercise, diet and medication are all important, but social interaction, and perhaps, even how we feel about ourselves, could be just as important. So, if you’re watching your waistline, be sure to make time for just sitting around - with friends. That’s this week’s Note on Emerging Science, I'm Jack Rodolico.




Link to summary of the paper


Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Telephone: 617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth