US Pharm. 2008;33(1):73.

Being hungry may be all in your headÖreally. Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, believe a hormone that activates brain circuits that generate hunger signals could be the reason people become obese.

In results published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigator Edythe London said that leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite, may lead to new, better treatments for obesity. "While [the study participants] were off leptin, they got really hungry when they saw pictures of high-calorie food, and that was associated with high activation in a part of the brain that is related to food craving," she said.

Leptin was the subject of obesity studies nearly two decades ago, when it was injected into rodents. The rodents ate less and lost weight, but the same result could not be replicated in humans.

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