Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Would Taming Inflammation Help Fight Obesity? Maybe, Study Suggests

Oct. 2, 2008 -- Curbing inflammation in a key part of the brain may help keep down weight, a new study shows.

Obesity is known to increase inflammation throughout the body. The new study -- published in tomorrow's edition of Cell -- shows that inflammation may be a player, and not an innocent bystander, in the development of obesity.

The researchers -- based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, San Diego -- focused on two things:

  • The hypothalamus, a brain region that regulates the body's energy balance.
  • A "master switch" of inflammation -- called IKK beta/NF kappa B -- that's usually turned off.

In lab tests on mice, that "master switch" of inflammation turned on in the hypothalamus of mice on a high-fat diet. "Chronic overnutrition" flipped on the inflammation switch, the researchers note.

With that master switch turned on in the hypothalamus, the mice gained weight and became resistant to insulin (a hormone that controls blood sugar) and leptin (a hormone involved in feeling full).

Next, the scientists used genetic engineering to flip that master switch off in the hypothalamus of other mice. Those mice were "significantly protected" from becoming obese, even on a high-fat diet, the researchers write.

Still, you wouldn't want to turn that master switch off forever, because inflammation is one of the body's tools for fighting infection.

Figuring out how to selectively control that switch in the hypothalamus might be a new strategy for curbing obesity and related diseases, the researchers conclude. In the meantime, the time-tested methods of a healthier diet and a more active lifestyle are still the cornerstones of managing weight. Easier said than done? Health care professionals can help with the process.

WebMD Health News

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...