Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

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. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, November 18, 2005

Obestatin: A Hormonal Appetite Suppresant?

There is preliminary experimental evidence that obestatin [cute name for the hormone, eh?] seems to reduce the appetites of rats.[h/t to Jack]

Scientists have discovered a biological brake for a hunger hormone: a competing hormone that seems to counter the urge to eat.

The substance, named obestatin, has been tested just in laboratory rats so far. But if it pans out, the discovery of the dueling hormones could lead not only to a new appetite suppressant, but also help unravel the complex ways that the body regulates weight.

... [N]ormal-weight rats injected with obestatin cut their food intake in half, leading to a 20 percent drop in weight over eight days.

That is not a big weight loss, but these were not fat rats; they would have gotten sick had they lost too much. So Hsueh's next step is to test whether obestatin suppresses appetite and leads to more weight loss in obese rats.

Obestatin also slowed the emptying of rodents' stomachs and the movement of food through the intestines, important steps in countering ghrelin's hunger-inducing effects.

The stomach does not work alone, but is part of a complex gut-brain network where hormones and other substances in the stomach and intestines signal the brain about fullness or hunger.

The research is very preliminary, and at this point, the relative effectiveness of horomonal appetite suppression, in comparison with the implications from other psychological and economic determinants of being overweight is open to question.
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