A joint research project at Edinburgh and Harvard Universities may have identified the science behind hunger pangs.
Scientists at both research centres have identified brain cells which create the feeling of hunger, in what they call “a promising new target for the development of weight-loss drugs.”
In a paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers revealed a brain circuit known as melanoncortin 4 receptor-regulated (MC4R) as the group of cells which controls our urge to eat.
In a set of extraordinary experiments it was found that turning on the the cells decreased the feeling of hunger in mice, whilst turning them off increased the urge to eat.
Bradford Low, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the co-author of the study, said: “Our results show that the artificial activation of this particular brain circuit is pleasurable and can reduce feeding in mice, essentially resulting in the same outcome as dieting but without the chronic feeling of hunger.”