New research suggests that obese and overweight people have different brain structures in their appetite control centers compared to those who are underweight. The study provides further evidence of the link between brain structure and weight and food consumption. Although factors such as genetics, hormones, and the environment influence eating habits, it is still unclear how precisely the brain signals hunger and fullness.
The hypothalamus, a small region of the brain, has been identified as crucial in determining feeding behavior, but studying it in living humans is challenging because of its size. Researchers at the University of Cambridge used machine learning to analyze brain scans of 1,351 young adults with different BMI scores to study the hypothalamus. They found that hypothalamic volume was significantly larger in overweight and obese individuals, and there was a significant relationship between hypothalamic volume and BMI.
The differences were most pronounced in the subregions of the hypothalamus responsible for the release of hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. Although the exact significance of these findings remains unclear, researchers speculate that it may be related to inflammation. Animal studies have shown that a high-fat diet can cause inflammation in the hypothalamus, leading to insulin resistance and obesity.
The study highlights the importance of brain structure in appetite regulation and provides new insights into the connection between brain health and weight management. As obesity rates continue to rise globally, understanding the brain’s role in regulating eating behavior could open new avenues for obesity research and treatment.
This article is sourced from and written by AI.
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