Researchers at Manchester University have found a chemical called hemopressin, which can curb cravings for comfort food.
This finding is significant as it can provide a potential target for appetite suppressants and perhaps help curb obesity. Dr Garron Dodd, who led the research, said that the findings would help develop drugs that can stop people from eating purely for pleasure and not hunger.
"The discovery offers new insights into how the brain controls appetite and opens new avenues by which to manipulate this brain circuitry and aid the development of anti-obesity treatments," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
Some years ago scientists developed a drug called rimonabant to help treat obesity, but that drug had serious side effects including depression. Hemopressin promises to be different as it is a naturally occurring element in the brain.
The study findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.