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Overweight people may not know when they've had enough
Date:1/9/2008

MI subjects, while it was activated more in their thinner counterparts. This activation was turned "on" when study subjects reported feeling full. Subjects who had the highest scores on self-reports of hunger had the least activation in the left posterior amygdala.

"This study provides the first evidence of the connection of the left amygdala and feelings of hunger during stomach fullness, demonstrating that activation of this brain region suppresses hunger," said Wang. "Our findings indicate a potential direction for treatment strategies - be they behavioral, medical or surgical -- targeting this brain region."

The scientists also looked at a range of hormones that regulate the digestive system, to see whether they played a role in responding to feelings of fullness. Ghrelin, a hormone known to stimulate the appetite and cause short-term satiety, showed the most relevance. Researchers found that individuals who had greater increases in ghrelin levels after their stomachs were moderately full also had greater activation of the left amygdala. "This indicates that ghrelin may control the reaction of the amygdala to satiety signals sent by the stomach," said Wang.

This study was funded by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the General Clinical Research Center at University Hospital Stony Brook. DOE has a long-standing interest in research on brain chemistry gained through brain-imaging studies. Brain-imaging techniques such as MRI are a direct outgrowth of DOE's support of basic physics and chemistry research.

The current study is part of a major focus of research at Brookhaven Lab on the neurobiology of eating disorders and obesity and their tre
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Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
kmcnulty@bnl.gov
631-344-8350
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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