Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center in New York have gained fresh insights into the critical link between the hormone leptin and the brain's response to weight loss.
Michael Rosenbaum says that leptin levels fall as obese people lose weight, and thus he and his colleagues wanted to see whether changes in leptin levels altered activity in the regions of the brain known to have a role in regulating food intake.
He says that it was observed during the study that activity in such brain regions in response to visual food-related cues changed after an obese person successfully lost weight.
The researcher, however, adds that the chances in brain activity were not observed when the obsess person, who had successfully lost weight, was treated with leptin.
According to him, the findings are consistent with the idea that the decrease in leptin levels, occurring when an individual loses weight, serves to protect the body against the loss of body fat.
Rosenbaum believes that the observations made by his team might be useful for researchers who are trying to develop treatments to prevent previously obese individuals from regaining the lost weight.
The authors of the study say that leptin therapy after weight loss might help improve weight maintenance by overriding the fat-loss defence.