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Many patients with advanced stages of cancer, AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases die from a condition called cachexia, which is characterized as a ‘wasting’ syndrome that causes extreme thinness with muscle weakness. Cachexia is the direct cause of roughly 20 percent of deaths in cancer patients. While boosting food intake doesn’t help, and no effective therapies are available, new research points to a promising strategy that may stimulate weight gain and muscle strength.