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Australia Considering Tax-Funded Obesity Surgery

lap-bandThere have been varying publicly-funded interventions with regards to the fight on obesity. But none are as direct as the one being initiated in Australia.

The government down under is considering funding lap-band surgery to curb rising rates of obesity. You can’t get anymore directly interventionist than that. If implemented, the plan would have tax payers footing the bill for surgery. Lap-band surgery is where surgeons attach a band around the entrance to the stomach so patients feel full after eating a moderate amount of food.
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Biggest Loser: Episode 14

I really enjoyed the episode of Biggest Loser last night. Until the last 10 minutes. But we’ll get to that later.

Not only did the contestants get to go on a fabulous vacation, but the viewers also got to go along. Not just a vacation for our eyes with all of the beautiful scenery, but a break from the same-ole-same-ole. The final five were of course shocked when Allison informed them they’d be going to Australia for a week.

Why Australia? Apparently Biggest Loser has made its mark in about 90 countries. The Biggest Loser in Australia is wildly popular, and behind North America is the second heaviest continent. Trainers Bob and Jillian split their time between the U.S. Biggest Loser and the Aussies. That’s why the trainers were absent in the week 13 weigh in. It also sheds a little more light on why the contestants were sent home for a week in episode 8. Next week, the final four’s last week on campus, no trainers either. Rumor has it the Australians spent some time on the Arizona Biggest Loser ranch earlier in the season.

It was a trying week for the contestants with jet lag, strange gym schedules and not being able to prepare their own food. A trying week for alliances as well. It appears as though everyone has finally figured out Roger is favored to win unless they start treating him as such. Ali rallied Mark, Jay and Kelly to start working to remove Roger- but of course not let him catch on. He’s aware though. Maybe not of the alliance, but that the “brotherhood” is breaking up and there aren’t a lot of people left standing in his corner.

So much happened last night that I thought I’d just hit on a some of the high points.

- Kelly and the Oyster. I’m right there with you sister! I laughed so hard watching Jillian literally shove the slimy guy into Kelly’s throat. Kelly said even God couldn’t make her eat it and Jillian casually responded that she and God are related.

- The night on the town in Sydney looked spectacular. And speaking of spectacular- ALI! Wow, that girl is gorgeous. Good for her for just working it. Putting on an outfit that three months ago she would have longingly passed on the rack. Not last night. She owned it. In case you’re wondering, the restaurant they went to is OTTO and the club is Tank, inside the Establishment Hotel.

- Could see the “brotherhood” bond crack a little as they were about to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Mark apparently has a life-long fear of bridges (gephyrophobia) and refused to go to the top of the 440 foot structure where Allison was waiting. Roger said “to hell with him,” and Ali stood by saying no one was going up without Mark. What happened to Pride on Three, Roger?

- Last Chance Workout. Talk about complete opposites. Bob had the guys next to the water for an intense yoga session. Meanwhile, Jillian was playing drill sergeant and giving the girls a beat down. Anyone else laugh as hard as I did when she was sitting in the tire being dragged by Ali and Kelly yelling “MUSH!”

The challenge last night was pretty intense, the hardest they’ve ever had. A triathlon that I personally cannot imagine doing. Picture these contestants, three months ago- they wouldn’t have either. If nothing else, this was a true testament to the amazing progress they’ve made on Biggest Loser. Swimming 300 yards, running 1/4 mile, bicycle, then running to the Aurora Place building and running up the 44 flights of stairs to the top. Ali and Mark held the lead from the start with Mark eventually pulling ahead. I was so impressed how Mark waited for Ali at the top and then she literally carried him over the finish line.

As these two come to terms with the possibility of being top contenders for the finale that’s just two weeks away, they had to also say goodbye to Jay. Mark and Jay both gained a pound in Australia, during the most unimpressive weigh-in this season. This was quite possibly the most heart-wrenching elimination to date. I was not at all surprised to see Jay step up to be eliminated, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. Check back tomorrow for the Diets In Review interview with Jay.

Cry of the Week: The entire last 10 minutes of the show. Sobbing. So sad to see Jay leave.

Quote of the Week: “I’m going to cut a mean a** rug tonight!,” Mark as they were getting ready to go out in Sydney.

Next Week: It’s the last week on campus. There are no trainers. And an exciting twist that effects the finale.



Aussie Researchers Find Hunger Switch

Overeating is a complex set of circumstances that range from psychological to simple ignorance about the foods we eat. But, what if when it’s all said and done, doctors could simply turn off your hunger like a light switch?

The answer could lie in a molecule known as MIC-1.

Australian scientists have figured out how to switch hunger on and off using MIC-1. The discovery could stop weight loss in terminally ill patients or produce weight loss in the morbidly obese. MIC-1 is produced by cancers and targets receptors in the brain that switch off appetite.

Sam Breit at St Vincent’s Centre for Immunology, who originally cloned the MIC-1 gene, believes the findings could have a significant impact on a range of appetite-related disorders.