Israeli Scientists May Have Found Brain’s ‘Hunger Switch’
New Israeli research may pave the way for drugs that “turn off the hunger switch” in the human brain with minimal side effects, scientists say.
A receptor in the brain, melanocortin 4 (MC4), is known to control the urge to eat. It has been dubbed the “hunger switch.”
A genetically inherited malfunction with this receptor is believed to be the most common cause of obesity that is triggered by a single gene mutation, impacting an estimated 5 percent of early-onset childhood obesity.
Now, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have conducted research that they say could bring about easy manipulation of the receptor among people with such a mutation.
They say it could even be used to help people who don’t have a genetic condition that directly impacts the MC4 in their efforts to lose weight, by treating the receptor as an “override” switch. When “turned off,” they say, it could suppress regular hunger. (TOI / VFI News)