August 22, 2014

Weight loss puzzle: Which neurons turn satiety on and off?

In their hunt for a switch in the brain that turns on and off the drive to eat, obesity researchers have come up with a bright idea: They have tried a relatively new technique to activate or suppress certain neurons’ electrical activity – introducing tiny molecular lights called optogenetics into cells’ midst. In mice, at least, the technique has helped identify both the exact brain cells and complex cascade of processes that prompt the dispatch of a “stop eating” signal from the brain to the gut.

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