We are an NSF-funded, academic research lab interested in the hormonal mechanisms at the interface of energy balance and reproduction. Hormones, fat, food, and sex. This research has obvious implications for understanding obesity and eating disorders, but it also provides answers to other important question. For example, why does every drug seem to have more side effects than it has effects? Belviq is an example.
In the Schneider lab, we are finding that many chemical messengers that inhibit food intake enhance sexual motivation. Conversely, many chemical messengers that enhance the appetite for food diminish sexual motivation. Some would have you assume that “normal” people have a system of “satiety” hormones designed to keep body weight within healthy and fashionable limits, and that this hormonal system is broken in over half of our population. What if these so-call “satiety” hormones function for other purposes, and have little to do with long term maintenance of a hypothetical ideal body weight? One possibility is that the so-called “feeding” hormones function primarily to optimize reproductive success in environments where energy availability fluctuates. This is one hypothesis under investigation in the Schneider lab.
The link between feeding circuitry and reproductive circuitry raises interesting questions. What will the current set of diet-related drugs do to our sexual libidos? Sex hormones are used for contraception and hormone replacement therapy in aging men and women. What are sex hormones doing to our body weight and body fat distribution? These steroid hormones are increasing in our environment. Other natural and synthetic chemicals in the environment are binding to our steroid hormone receptors. What are they doing to our body fat distribution and sexual libido? I elaborate on these topics in a book in progress, Sex and Food and. . Meanwhile, get your teeth into a small slice.
Sex and food and. . if you fill in this sentence one way, you probably enjoy new wave music. Check out our posts categorized as music genres, or categorized chronologically to the right of this box. The point is that scientists are human, and the scientific life is filled with stuff like music and sports and comedy. Selling science with a rock star like Neil deGrasse Tyson kind of misses the point of science. Once you start marketing it, you’ve stopped doing science. On the other hand, using science to understand the world requires that you remember that it’s being done by whole human beings that kind of rock.
Check out our individual lab members on the Schneider Lab Webpage