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Decrease of 'Hunger Hormone' after Obesity Surgery

According to researchers at the Puget Sound Health Care System, obese adults who undergo 'stomach stapling' have much lower levels of a recently discovered 'hunger hormone' than either normal-weight people or those who lose weight by dieting.//

Dr. David E. Cumming from the Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, suggested that drugs that suppress the hormone called ghrelin could curb appetite and may cut rates of obesity and related problems such as type 2 diabetes and other chronic disorders. He felt that, obesity is a huge problem and insights into the mechanisms of body weight regulation giving rise to treatments are very important," he said.

Ghrelin, a hormone produced by the stomach, is named for the Hindi word for growth. Past studies have shown it rises just before eating and falls after a meal and can make people so ravenous they eat nearly a third more food than usual. But it was not clear what happened to levels after dieting or in people who had gastric bypass surgery.

A team of investigators measured levels of ghrelin in the blood of 10 obese individuals before and after a 5-month weight loss program, in 6 adults who had lost weight after gastric bypass surgery, and in 10 normal-weight adults.

Patients had undergone a type of gastric surgery known as Roux-en-Y, in which a surgeon creates a small pouch in the stomach and also bypasses a portion of the small intestine. Afterwards, patients tend to eat less--and lose weight--because they feel full on less food.

But the surgery also appears to inhibit the production of ghrelin, thereby contributing to long-term weight loss. The finding may help explain why people undergoing surgery feel less hungry between meals, even though their intake of food has dropped dramatically.

After surgery, the patients had lower levels of the hormone compared with both normal-weight people and obese people who lost weight by dieting. For example, dieters who h
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