Author Topic: Researchers Find Brain Cells That May Help Rewire Appetite Control  (Read 1030 times)


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Until recently, scientists believed that the nerve cells in the brain associated with appetite regulation were generated entirely during embryonic development. This meant if you were pre-programmed for an eating disorder, the nerve cells were fixed for life.

However, a team of researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK have made a breakthrough in the field of neurosciences which could offer a long-lasting solution to eating disorders such as obesity.

The team’s findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, have located a population of stem cells in their rodent subjects that are actually capable of generating new appetite-regulating neurons in the brain.

The researchers believe their findings could provide far reaching benefits to the growing number of individuals dealing with obesity. Globally, more than 1.4 billion adults are overweight. Of those, more than half a billion are obese. Obesity can lead to chronic health problems like heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Mortality due to being overweight and obese exceeds 2.8 million people each year.

And the numbers above can be translated into economic burdens on national healthcare systems and economies. Illness and disease due to excessive weight tops $60 billion annually in the US alone.

To arrive at their findings, the UEA scientists focused on the brain’s hypothalamus, which is responsible for the regulation of sleep and wake cycles, energy expenditure, appetite, thirst, hormone release and many other critical biological functions. Within the hypothalamus, the researchers specifically studied the nerve cells responsible for appetite regulation.


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