Are we one step closer to rewiring our appetites?

Animal,Porkey Pig, Lobund-Wistar

Brain cells responsible for appetite may be able to be modified. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Any research vaguely related to obesity is pretty big news these days. After all, weight loss is worth a fortune, with some estimates predicting the market will be worth $66 billion in the U.S. alone this year, and revenue from this area was about $827 million last year in Australia. Good work if you can get it.

Recently, researchers have come closer to pinpointing specific brain mechanisms responsible for regulating appetite, and more importantly, have found that the cells that they believe are responsible, called tanycytes, are plastic. What that means is that cell development is not set at birth. The synapses in your brain continue to develop and prune as you learn things across childhood and adulthood. These tanycytes, which may be responsible for appetite control, can also be modified, which is good news for weight loss research. However, one thing to be wary of is that this study is animal research – and while this can help researchers move in the right direction, it cannot be considered conclusive.

Read the BBC article here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22046305

and the original study here:

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/14/6170.abstract?sid=de98be41-a2a2-4e53-826b-7a321bebb980

Check out these other articles that picked up on this news:

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