Anti obesity drugs could make all the lovely, yummy food look much less yummy, say scientists at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Paul Fletcher and colleagues 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.
MRI scans revealed that in participants given sibutramine - an anti-obesity drug - the brain activity in these areas was reduced significantly.
Additionally, people who had the greatest reduction of brain activation following drug treatment tended to eat less and to lose more weight.
"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," said Professor Ed Bullmore at the University of Cambridge.
"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," he added.
The findings are reported today in The Journal of Neuroscience.