Posted on May 30, 2019, 6 p.m.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Monash University Melbourne suggest that they have discovered a gene that triggers a feeling of fullness, findings published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may one day help prevent the urge to overeat.
This may come as good news to those who struggle with sticking to a diet as their findings may one day lead to development of therapies designed to reduce appetite and increase desire to exercise; this gene is also believed to be behind the need to sleep after eating, which happens only when the body has stored enough fat.
Discovered in roundworms the gene controls signals between the brain and intestines, and a similar gene is found in humans, according to the scientists. Roundworms were chosen for this study as its brain is relatively simple with just 302 neurons and 8,000 synapses, humans have 100 trillion synapses and billion of neurons, but we still share 80% of our genes with the worm.
“When animals are malnourished they seek out food by roaming their environment. When they're well fed they have no need to roam, and when they're fully sated they enter a sleep-like state. Because roundworms share so many genes with humans they are a great model system to investigate and gain a better understanding of processes like metabolism as well as diseases in humans.” says Associate Professor Roger Pocock.
According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre 65% of men and 58% of women are either overweight or obese in England, and according to the CDC 71.6% of American adults are either overweight or obese.
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