Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Caution Urged With New Anti-obesity Drug In Kids

Date:
May 8, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
Anti-obesity drugs that work by blocking brain molecules similar to those in marijuana could also interfere with neural development in young children, according to a new study from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

Anti-obesity drugs that work by blocking brain molecules similar to those in marijuana could also interfere with neural development in young children, according to a new study from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

Related Articles


Marijuana is known to be an appetite stimulant, and a new class of anti-obesity drugs--such as rimonabant (trade name Acomplia) developed by Sanofi-Aventis and awaiting approval for use in the United States--work by blocking brain receptors that bind to marijuana and other cannabinoids.

Marijuana, derived from the plant Cannabis sativa, contains special active compounds that are referred to collectively as cannabinoids. But other cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) are generated naturally inside the body.

The MIT study, which was done in mice, found that blocking cannabinoid receptors could also suppress the adaptive rewiring of the brain necessary for neural development in children. The work is reported in the May 8 issue of Neuron.

"Our finding of a profound disruption of cortical plasticity in juvenile mice suggests caution is advised in the use of such compounds in children," wrote lead author Mark F. Bear, director of the Picower Institute and Picower Professor of Neuroscience.

The researchers investigated plasticity--the brain's ability to change in response to experience--by temporarily depriving newborn mice of vision in one eye soon after birth. This well-known experiment induces a long-lasting loss of synapses that causes blindness in the covered eye, while synapses shift to the uncovered eye. How and where this synaptic shift occurs in the primary visual cortex has remained controversial.

Understanding the mechanism behind this phenomenon is key because the same brain mechanisms are used for normal development and may go awry in conditions that cause developmental delays in humans, and may reappear in old age and contribute to synaptic loss during Alzheimer's disease, Bear said.

In mice, the MIT researchers found, even one day of deprivation from one eye starts the shift to dominance of the uncovered eye. But injecting the mice with a cannabinoid receptor blocker halted the shift in certain brain regions, indicating that cannabinoids play a key role in early synaptic development.

Blocking cannabinoids receptors could thwart this developmental process, the researchers said.

This work is supported by the National Eye Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cheng-Hang Liu, Arnold J. Heynen, Marshall G. Hussain Shuler, and Mark F. Bear. Cannabinoid Receptor Blockade Reveals Parallel Plasticity Mechanisms in Different Layers of Mouse Visual Cortex. Neuron 2008 58: 340-345. [link]

Cite This Page:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Caution Urged With New Anti-obesity Drug In Kids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507133326.htm>.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2008, May 8). Caution Urged With New Anti-obesity Drug In Kids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507133326.htm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Caution Urged With New Anti-obesity Drug In Kids." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080507133326.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) Ruby Holt spent most of her 100 years on a farm in rural Tennessee, picking cotton and raising four children. She saw the ocean for the first time thanks to her assisted living center and a group that grants wishes to the elderly. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) Artist Nickolay Lamm's Kickstarter-funded Lammily doll, based on his 'What Would Barbie Look Like as a Real Woman' project, is finally available to buy. Jen Markham explains how the doll's realistic proportions are going over with a test group of second-graders who are used to the impossible measurements of Barbie dolls. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Trans-Fat Foods Now Linked To Poor Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) A study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions shows a link between diets high in trans fats and decreased memory recall. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins