Treatment of obesity and other eating disorders may be round the corner as scientists have traced the pathway of these disorders in the eating center of the brain!! To start with they have experimented on the rat brain and they are very enthusiastic about the findings, as this is the first time that such advances have been made vis-à-vis eating disorders.
Specific sets of brain cells respond to hormones, among them two proteins called leptin and neuropeptide Y, that control eating behavior. Other areas of the brain that play a role in eating decisions have not been identified before now, according to Dr. Jeffrey Friedman of The Rockefeller University in New York.
AdvertisementFriedman and his colleagues tagged a virus that travels from brain cell to brain cell with a protein that glows and injected it into the feeding control center in the middle of the mouse brain, hoping to trace the green-glowing chemical to other areas that might influence eating behavior.
A surprising number of brain areas provided inputs to the feeding control center, including some regions not previously associated with eating behavior, the study authors report in the March 30th issue of "Science". The researchers believe that the feeding control center takes inputs from other areas and interprets them before sending signals to an as yet unidentified center that makes people decide to eat.
With this breakthrough the scientists believe that the previously unexplored areas of the brain can be opened up to scientific research and with the neural circuits being mapped out, the problems of obesity and other eating disorders can finally be solved.