As Jews around the world gear up for the annual "fress fest" that comes with eating the traditional foods associated with Chanukah, one Tel Aviv University researcher is doing his bit for desperate dieters by adding new ammunition to the fight against fat. 

A computer program pioneered by Professor Amit Gefen in the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering determines how much stimulation or “mechanical load” can be tolerated by the fat cells which produce the fat in the body. The program, which recreates the structure of fat cells, also determines at which point those fat cells will begin to disintegrate.

A report on the study appeared in the most recent edition of the Journal of Biomechanics.

Gefen’s research is driven by the theory that fat cells are influenced by mechanical loads, as are bone or muscle cells. Astronauts who return to Earth after a stint in space, for example, often spend some time in a wheelchair because their bodies are affected by the zero gravity which results in a lack of mechanical load.

The research is important not only for those who are constantly fighting the battle of the bulge, explained Gefen, but also for the treatment of bedsores and management of chronic diabetes. “Any treatment that would be effective in fighting obesity would also apply immediately to diabetes,’ he noted.

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