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Good Buzz: Tiny vibrations may limit fat-cell formation

Young mice that spend time on a mildly vibrating platform increase muscle and bone production at the expense of fat, researchers report. The finding suggests that exposure to subtle mechanical movement—even a modest buzz—might beneficially influence cell formation, says study coauthor Clinton T. Rubin, a bioengineer at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University.

Rubin's team tested laboratory mice by allowing some to spend 15 minutes a day on buzzing platforms while others remained on solid surfaces. After 9 to 15 weeks, the mice exposed to the vibrations had less fat than the other mice did. Other measurements showed that shaken mice made fewer new fat cells and also had lower concentrations of triglycerides and nonesterified free fatty acids in their livers. Both compounds are linked to type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes. The study will appear in the Nov. 6 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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