German and Canadian adiposity researchers exchange their ideas

IFB supports exchange of young scientists in obesity research

Teilnehmer des Adipositas-Treffens, darunter Dr. Susan Kralisch (2. Reihe, 2. v. li., graue Jacke); Foto: C. Peterhänsel
Participants of the adiposity-meeting; also Dr. Susan Kralisch** took part (2. row, 2. from left, grey jacket) Photo: C. Peterhänsel
Das Fachtreffen fand in idyllischer Umgebung statt.
The obesity-workshop took place in an idyllic place.

Worldwide severe overweight (adiposity) and its associated diseases have become a big challenge for the healthcare systems. Therefore, it is important that physicians and scientists exchange their ideas to discuss the newest findings and improved treatment approaches. In July 2013, 9 young scientists and 5 contributors of the University Medical Center of Leipzig travelled for one week to an adiposity expert meeting to Kanaskis Village in Canada at the foot of the Rocky Mountains (District Alberta).

Der Ausblick auf die kanadischen Rocky Mountains
View on the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Prestigious researchers as well as junior researchers of the University Medical Center Leipzig and Alberta as well as of the Canadian Obesity Network and the Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases presented and discussed their work. The participants also thought outside the box, since the meeting was interdisciplinary. With topics like nutrition, hormones, therapy, prevention and adiposity surgery, adipose tissue disorders and brain functions, the Canadian event was broadly positioned.

Teilnehmer und Referenten des Adipositas-Fachtreffens in Kanada. Adipositas-Experte Prof. Arya Sharma* (2. Reihe, schwarzer Hut) organisierte das Treffen mit.
Participants and contributors of the obesity-boot-camp. Obesity-expert Prof. Arya Sharma* (2. row, black hat) helped to organize the camp.

An important topic of the one-week event was the question, how physicians and scientists can treat obese people without any prejudice or stigmatization. “To explore the difficulty of one's own personal prejudice against obese patients was exciting”, so Dr. Susan Kralisch.**  A highlight was Dr. Mary Forhahn’s presentation “Weight-related prejudices – a clinical and research-perspective” and the following discussion. The Leipzig researcher recognized: “As a scientist, I can contribute a little to the reduction of prejudices with non-stigmatizing wordings and descriptions, e. g. at national and international conferences. I am really happy for the possibility to be here in the workshop.” Dr. Kralisch researches in the area of adipose tissue in the team of Prof. Mathias Fasshauer.

Another highlight was the presentation of Prof. Arya Sharma, main organizer of the meeting. He reported among others about the innovative and holistic adiposity treatment of the Canadian Obesity Network. Also the treatment at the outpatient adiposity clinic in Leipzig leans to the Canadian “Obesity-Management”. Sharma is an international prestigious obesity expert and head of the obesity center at the University of Alberta. He also belongs to the advisory board of the IFB AdiposityDiseases in Leipzig.

The third expert meeting of this kind is part of the German-Canadian countries cooperation in the area of obesity, the so-called “Alberta-Saxony Obesity Research and Training Alliance” (ASORTA). This collaborative project of the University of Alberta and the University of Leipzig helps students and junior researchers to exchange about the newest insights in research and practice in the area of adiposity and metabolic diseases.

The cooperation aroused within the already existing collaboration of the countries Saxony and Alberta in economics and science. Already in February 2002, the then Saxony prime minister Kurt Biedenkopf and the prime minister of the province Alberta, Ralph Klein, signed a joint declaration. This was the first of its sort in Eastern Germany. For the future are further guest stays for German respectively Canadian junior researchers planned.

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*Prof. Arya Sharma offers a lot of information on obesity in the Internet:
Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes
Arya Sharma auf Facebook
Arya Sharma auf Twitter

Prof. Arya Sharma is director of the Canadian Obesity Network, which co-operates with the IFB in Leipzig, Germany.

** Dr. Susan Kralisch examines the secretion mechanism and the role of a protein  that is distributed by fat cells: the „adipokin adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein“ (AFABP). This matter increases the risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes). Dr. Kralisch summarized that in an review article: Kralisch, S., Fasshauer, M.: Adipocyte fatty acid binding protein: a novel adipokine involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic and vascular disease? Diabetologia 2013;56:10-21

Doris Gabel

Keywords: IFB-research, events