Cheryl’s Drastic Weight Loss

And a report states she’s considering quitting X Factor…

Cheryl Cole’s fight with malaria has left her emaciated and weak, and her family fear it could be Christmas before the star is fully recovered.

A source revealed last night that a doctor has banned her from doing any strenuous exercise for six months, including dance routines. “Cheryl is far too thin. She was 7½ stone to 8 stone before but she doesn’t have any meat on her now. Her hip bones literally stick out.

“She won’t be dancing for some time. Her routines were exhausting,” the source added. “Cheryl understands that she now has to follow medical advice. Her ridiculously busy work routine is off so there’s time for her to focus on getting healthy and putting the weight back on.”

Cheryl left hospital last week and is now recovering in her Surrey mansion.

There are conflicting reports about the star’s future on X Factor – she pulled out of boot camp to aid her recovery, but was set to be back in time for the judges’ houses stage and live shows. But now the Daily Star claims the Girls Aloud singer is considering quitting the show.

“There’s a small chance Cheryl may not return to The X Factor at all this year,” a source told the tabloid. “There was talk of her possibly leaving at the end of the current series so she could concentrate on cracking the US and also be a judge on American X Factor. But with her illness she might not even come back for this series.

“Cheryl is still frail and has no idea when she will be strong enough to come back to work,” the source said. “She also needs to find time to promote her music worldwide, so something had to give – and that looks likely to be her spot on the UK show.”

Drugs & Weight loss

A combination pill of two drugs used to treat addiction may help people lose weight, say US researchers.

The Lancet reports that Naltrexone, commonly used to treat alcoholics and heroin addicts, and the anti-smoking drug bupropion led to greater weight loss than diet and exercise alone.

It is thought the treatment may help beat food cravings.

However, one UK expert said he would like to see much higher weight loss for the drug to be used in clinics.

Professor Nick Finer, an obesity expert from University College London (UCL), said the drug may prove more useful if researchers can better identify who would benefit.

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This is the first drug I’m aware of that targets both the appetite and reward centres in the brain”
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Professor Frank Greenway

Study leader
In the study, 1,700 overweight and obese adults were all offered a weight-loss programme with diet and exercise advice.

Two-thirds were also given the combination treatment (in one of two doses) and a third were given a placebo, or dummy pill, to take twice a day.

Only half completed the trial, which lasted a year.

Overall those taking the treatment lost an average of 5% to 6% of their weight depending on the dose, compared with 1.3% in the placebo group.

The researchers said if only those who completed the trial were included, weight loss was 8% of body weight for those on the anti-addiction drugs.

The treatment was not without side effects which included nausea, headaches, constipation, dizziness, vomiting and a dry mouth.

‘Better control’

The drug is designed to target both the parts of the brain controlling appetite but also reward.

Regulators in the US are currently looking at whether the treatment, which will be marketed as Contrave, should be licensed.

Study leader Professor Frank Greenway, from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, said although 5% may not seem like a huge weight loss, it could make a real difference in terms of health risks.

“I think the weight loss we saw was significant even if it might not be as much as many people would like to see,” he said.

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He said a separate trial of the same drug but with a more intensive diet and exercise programme had shown a 10% average weight loss, compared with 5% in the placebo group.

“This is the first drug I’m aware of that targets both the appetite and reward centres in the brain,” he said.

“People who struggle with cravings seem to have better control with their eating.

“In practice it is likely to be used in people who feel cravings get in the way of their ability to lose weight.”

Professor Finer, from UCL, said combination treatments were likely to be the future for obesity drugs.

But he said he was not overly impressed with the weight loss seen in the trial, especially given the side-effects.

“The question will be can they define who the responders are and also can you get better results by combining the drug with a more effective weight loss programme,” he said.

“We desperately need effective drugs but we have to have very high standards of safety and acceptability to patients.”