Can the Brain Be 'Tricked' to Help You Lose Weight?

British study says new hormone treatment may do just that

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FRIDAY, Aug. 26, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A new hormone treatment that controls appetite by alerting the brain that the stomach is full could be the "magic bullet" to cure obesity, according to research conducted by a team of British researchers.

In the study, people who were given injections of the digestive hormone oxyntomodulin before meals lost an average of four times more weight in one month than study participants who were not given the hormone.

Researchers also found no negative side effects, as hormone recipients reported a decrease in appetite but no reduction in their enjoyment of meals.

Commenting on the study, Martin Binks, clinical psychologist and director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center at Duke University, said, "Such preliminary findings lead to the hope that we might someday be able to manipulate the levels of hunger and fullness that are experienced by a person, so the brain would actually believe the person is less hungry."

Binks said drug treatments alone seldom offer long-term success and work best when used as one component of a multi-disciplinary strategy.

"Typically, in the pharmaceutical trials, you will see an initial weight loss over a six-month period and then a plateauing or a regain," he said. "There are studies on various types of pharmaceuticals showing that in combination with effective multi-dimensional lifestyle change, including good nutrition, exercise and behavioral intervention, that effect can be improved. The benefits of combining treatments are being looked at much more seriously now."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about obesity.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, Aug. 22, 2005

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