60-Second Science

Good Vibrations May Stop Fat From Forming

Mice that spent 15 minutes a day on a vibrating platform had 30 percent less fat around their middles than mice on stationary surfaces. Karen Hopkin reports.

If you’re like me, somewhere in your closet, or maybe in a drawer, you probably have a pair of pants you hope to someday fit into. Again. But staying on a diet and finding time to exercise—it’s no walk in the park. 

But wait! Before you swear off the spaghetti, scientists at the State University of New York in Stony Brook have stumbled onto a new way to slenderize. They found that mice that spend 15 minutes a day standing on a vibrating platform are leaner than mice who just stand still. Their results appear in the current online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

All the animals in the experiment were allowed to eat their fill. Interestingly, after 15 weeks, the shaken mice didn’t actually weigh any less. But compared to the mice who hung out on a stationary platform, they had about 30 percent less fat around their middles.

The SUNY scientists think that the jiggling kept fat cells from forming. Whether it would do the same for people, you never know. And here you thought New Yorkers were lean and mean because they’re always in a hurry rushing here and there. Maybe it’s because they spend so much time standing on vibrating subway platforms, waiting for the uptown express.

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