Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Unstoppable appetite?

Scientists. You gotta love ’em. In a December 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers at Yale University announced they are getting closer to figuring out why eating feels good (hmmmm).

It all has to do with something called ghrelin, which, though it sounds like it certainly must mean something in Yiddish, is actually the name of a hormone produced in the stomach. Its job is to tell the brain it’s time to eat. What the Yale researchers found out is that (in lab rats, anyway) ghrelin triggers the same neurons in the brain as sexual experiences and many recreational drugs. That is to say, it triggers the release of brain chemicals that provide a sensation of pleasure, and the expectation of reward.

What this research points to is a possible connection between ghrelin and eating disorders. There may lie somewhere in this intricate body chemistry an explanation for people who have unstoppable appetites.

If you have any interest, click here to see the full journal article.

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