A recent discovery made by researchers in stem cell manipulation could offer solution to obesity. It was previously thought that the nerve cells in the brain associated with appetite regulation were generated entirely during an embryo's development in the womb and therefore their numbers were fixed for life. But a new study has identified a population of stem cells capable of generating new appetite-regulating neurons in the brains of young and adult rodents. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally. More than 1.4 billion adults worldwide are overweight and more than half a billion are obese. Associated health problems include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer, and at least 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. The economic burden on the NHS in the UK is estimated to be more than 5 billion pounds annually. In the US, the healthcare cost tops 60 billion dollars. Scientists at UEA investigated the hypothalamus section of the brain - which regulates sleep and wake cycles, energy expenditure, appetite, thirst, hormone release and many other critical biological functions. The study looked specifically at the nerve cells that regulate appetite. The researchers used "genetic fate mapping" techniques to make their discovery - a method that tracks the development of stem cells and cells derived from them, at desired time points during the life of an animal. They established that a population of brain cells called "tanycytes" behave like stem cells and add new neurons to the appetite-regulating circuitry of the mouse brain after birth and into adulthood. Lead researcher Dr Mohammad K. Hajihosseini, from UEA's school of Biological Sciences said, "Unlike dieting, translation of this discovery could eventually offer a permanent solution for tackling obesity." "Loss or malfunctioning of neurons in the hypothalamus is the prime cause of eating disorders such as obesity," he said. He said that this study has shown that the neural circuitry that controls appetite is not fixed in number and could possibly be manipulated numerically to tackle eating disorders. The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.Source: ANI << Vitamin D Boosts Energy Levels New Genetic Markers Help Predict Alzheimer's Disease >> Recommended Reading Obesity Obesity is a condition where there is excess accumulation of body fat which poses a risk to the health of the individual. It can affect children and adults. READ MORE Quiz on Stem Cells Scientists believe (and are working hard) to use stem cells in the future to treat a wide range of diseases and injuries. But what exactly is a stem cell? How can it be used in curing disorders? See if you get your answers from this ... READ MORE Body Mass Index The BMI calculator helps you assess your weight indicating if it is normal or if you are underweight or overweight, based on your height. READ MORE How to Lose Weight? Slide show which explains obesity causes and tips on how to lose weight. Exercising before breakfast is most effective for weight loss. READ MORE Bone Marrow Transplantation Preferred Term is Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In this stem cell from bone marrow are injected into a recipient after treating them with growth factor. READ MORE Diet Pills Diet pills are flooding the market by millions. The positive side of diet pills to most people is that they achieve their objective of losing weight. Medical reviews are against the use of diet pills. READ MORE Hungry? - But you Just Ate! Most of us are tempted by good food, mealtime or not. Once in a way is fine but it is dangerous to give into food cravings all the time. READ MORE Increased Appetite Symptom Evaluation An increase in appetite is seen in conditions like bulimia, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and worm infestation. READ MORE Stem Cells - Fundamentals Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about Stem Cells READ MORE Stem Cells - Cord Blood Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about Cord Blood READ MORE Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine This new field is an amalgamation of biology, medicine and engineering, and is believed to have mind -boggling implications if fully potentialized. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Accident and Trauma Care Post-Nasal Drip Vent Forte (Theophylline) More News on: Diet PillsStem Cells - Cord BloodStem Cells - FundamentalsParkinsons Disease Surgical TreatmentGenetics and Stem CellsBone Marrow TransplantationTissue Engineering and Regenerative MedicineStem CellsIncreased Appetite Symptom EvaluationHungry? - But you Just Ate!