Coming soon: A slim pill?

Last Updated: Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 00:00

London: Coming soon: A "slim" pill, say
scientists who claim to be close to creating such a weight-
loss drug which tricks the brain into deciding that people
aren`t hungry.

The research, which could be the holy grail for
weight-watchers, was made by a team at Pennsylvania University
who found a signalling pathway in the brain which may prevent
the body from knowing it has had enough food.

When this stops working, people stay hungry, crave
sweets and store more fat instead of burning it, increasing
the risk of heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

For the first time, the researchers have identified
the body`s signalling mechanisms that contribute to "satiety"
-- the sensation of feeling full, the British media reported.

It is now hoped a greater understanding of these
complex mechanisms could form the basis for anti-obesity
medications. Currently, no drug exists to treat obesity
outright.

Team leader Matthew Hayes said: "Identifying both the
site-of-action and mechanisms that account for the body weight
loss from these GLP-1 drugs puts us one step closer to
developing effective treatments for obesity."

Co-researcher Harvey Grill added: "Ignoring the
brain is not the right strategy, as these drugs are certainly
engaging multiple, distributed centres in the brain governing
energy balance regulation."

The study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism,
said that many researchers have tried to determine precisely
how GLP-1 and other satiating signals work. This is because,
especially in obese people, the brain fails to tell them that
they are full, leading them to overeat.

Hayes added: "If we can identify other chemical
signals or hormones that act on the same pathways that we`ve
shown here, then by combined action you have a coordinated,
orchestrated symphony of weight suppression."

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 00:00

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