Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insight into links between obesity and activity in the brain

Date:
October 27, 2010
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Scientists have revealed that an anti-obesity drug changes the way the brain responds to appetizing, high-calorie foods in obese individuals. This insight may aid the development of new anti-obesity drugs which reduce the activity in the regions of the brain stimulated by the sight of tasty foods.

Scientists have revealed that an anti-obesity drug changes the way the brain responds to appetising, high-calorie foods in obese individuals. This insight may aid the development of new anti-obesity drugs which reduce the activity in the regions of the brain stimulated by the sight of tasty foods.

Related Articles


Researchers at the University of Cambridge discovered that the anti-obesity drug sibutramine reduced brain responses in two regions of the brain, the hypothalamus and the amygdala, both of which are known to be important in appetite control and eating behaviour. Their findings are reported in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Professor Paul Fletcher, from the Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioural & Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge and one of the paper's authors, said: "Currently, there are few drugs that effectively help patients to lose weight. Developing new pharmaceuticals is expensive and risky. However, our findings suggest that we may be able to use brain imaging and psychological tests to make better predictions of which drugs are likely to work."

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers measured brain activity while obese volunteers viewed pictures of appetising high-calorie foods -- like chocolate cake -- or pictures of low-calorie foods -- like broccoli. The brain scanning was carried out both after two weeks of treatment with the anti-obesity drug, sibutramine, and two weeks of placebo treatment.

On placebo, it was shown that simply seeing pictures of appetising foods caused greater activation of many regions of the brain that are known to be important for reward processing. On sibutramine, however, they found that the anti-obesity drug reduced brain responses to the appetising foods in two regions of the volunteers' brain -- the hypothalamus and the amygdala. These two regions are known to be important in appetite control and eating behaviour. Additionally, people who had the greatest reduction of brain activation following drug treatment tended to eat less and to lose more weight.

Professor Ed Bullmore, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge and director of the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Clinical Unit in Cambridge (CUC), said: "Our results help us to understand more precisely how anti-obesity drugs work in the brain to change eating behaviour and hence, ultimately, to assist people in losing weight.

"The most exciting aspect of these results is that they help us to see that brain and behaviour are fundamental to understanding and treating obesity. Simply because obesity involves major changes in body weight and body composition, it is easy to imagine that it is entirely 'a body problem'. These results remind us that the major cause of obesity in the West is over-eating, and this behaviour is regulated by reward and satiety processing circuits in the brain."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "New insight into links between obesity and activity in the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026172025.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2010, October 27). New insight into links between obesity and activity in the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026172025.htm
University of Cambridge. "New insight into links between obesity and activity in the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101026172025.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) At least 1 in 5,000 U.S. babies are born each year with intersex conditions _ ambiguous genitals because of genetic glitches or hormone problems. Secrecy and surgery are common. But some doctors and activists are trying to change things. (April 17) Video provided by AP
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