Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New findings about the brain lead to treatment for eating disturbances

10.03.2008
The discovery of the brain’s so-called melanocortin system and its central role in controlling appetite has paved the way for entirely new possibilities for treating obesity and anorexia.

In the latest issue of the prestigious journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Uppsala University researcher Jarl Wikberg and one of his associates present a review of pioneering research in this field that he and other scientists have conducted over nearly two decades.

The mapping of the melanocortin system was made possible by the cloning of genes for five different melanocortin receptors, which was performed by Jarl Wikberg in collaboration with other researchers in the early 1990s.

“The melanocortin system monitors the energy balance and regulates how much we eat and how much energy the body uses. The result of all of this is that we maintain our body weight,” says Jarl Wikberg.

But things can go wrong. It is a highly complex system, and even tiny imbalances can entail major changes. For instance, the melanocortin system is exposed to great genetic variations, and many mutations lead to extreme obesity in early ages. Such mutations are found in 3–6 percent of children who have these problems.

“There are also mutations that affect the system in the opposite direction, and these may be an explanation for anorexia.”

These discoveries have prompted most major drug companies to develop drugs that target melanocortin receptors, for the treatment of eating disorders. Interestingly, the same system has also been shown to be involved in the regulation of sexual behavior, and this has resulted in the creation of drugs for treating diminished sex drive as well.

“In men such treatment has become accepted, but it is still controversial to treat women. It will be interesting to see how an effective treatment for diminished sex drive will be received in the future,” says Jarl Wikberg.

Anneli Waara | idw
Further information:
http://www.uu.se
http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nrd2331.pdf

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>