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Scientists identify brain centre responsible for stress, eating disorders

Food Manufacturing Medibulletin

UTHealth researchers say their work may lead to a treatment for anorexia nervosa that makes people avoid food   The tendency to not eat when stressed, it seems, transcends species barriers.
'UTHealth researchers say their work may lead to a treatment for anorexia nervosa that makes people avoid food   The tendency to not eat when stressed, it seems, transcends species barriers.Eating disorder researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have discovered a neurocircuit in mice that, when activated, increased their stress levels while decreasing their desire to eat.Findings appear in Nature Communications . The scientists believe their research could aid efforts to develop treatments for a serious eating disorder called anorexia nervosa, which has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods.Even when they are dangerously underweight, they may see themselves as overweight. “We have identified a part of the brain in a mouse model that controls the impact of emotions on eating,” said Qingchun Tong, PhD, the study’s senior author and an associate professor in the Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Disease at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.This could aid efforts to develop treatments for a serious eating disorder called anorexia nervosa, which has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods Because mice and humans have similar nervous systems, Tong, the Cullen Chair in Molecular Medicine at UTHealth, believes their findings could shed light on the part of the human brain that regulates hunger.The investigators believe they are among the first to demonstrate the role of this neurocircuit in the regulation of both stress and hunger.While previous research has established that stress can both reduce and increase a person’s desire to eat, the neural mechanisms that act on the regulation of eating by stress-related responses largely remain a mystery.Tong’s team focused on a neurocircuit connecting two parts of the mouse brain: the paraventricular hypothalamus, an eating-related zone in the brain, and the ventral lateral septum, an emotional zone in the brain.The neurocircuit acts as an on/off switch.When researchers activated the neurocircuit, there was an increase in anxiety levels and a decrease in appetite.Conversely, when the investigators inhibited the neurocircuit, anxiety levels dropped and hunger increased.The scientists used a research technique called optogenetics to turn the neurons in question on and off.Yuanzhong Xu, PhD, the study’s lead author and an instructor at McGovern Medical School, said additional preclinical tests are needed to confirm their findings. . The post Scientists identify brain centre responsible for stress, eating disorders appeared first on Health news, Medibulletin .'

Heart attack cases higher in areas with more fast food outlets

Food Manufacturing Healthshots

For every additional fast food outlet, there were four additional heart attacks per 100,000 people each year.
'Sydney: While it is known that eating fast food is not good for health, researchers, including one of an Indian-origin, have found that areas with a higher number of fast food outlets record more heart attack cases. Published in the European Heart Journal, the findings also showed that for every additional fast food outlet, there were four additional heart attacks per 100,000 people each year. The findings were consistent across rural and metropolitan areas after adjusting for age, obesity, high blood lipids, high blood pressure, smoking status, and diabetes. The results emphasise the importance of the food environment as a potential contributor towards health, said Indian-origin researcher Tarunpreet Saluja from the University of Newcastle in Australia. This retrospective cohort study included 3,070 patients admitted to hospital with a heart attack between 2011 and 2013. The researchers recorded the total number of outlets within each local government area and compared different areas to analyse the association between density of fast food restaurants and incidence of heart attack. “The ubiquitous presence of fast food is an important consideration for the ongoing development of rural and metropolitan areas,” he said. “This study highlights the impact of the food environment on health. In addition to regulating the location and density of fast food outlets, local areas should ensure good access to supermarkets with healthy food,” said Jeroen Bax, Professor at the Leiden University in Netherlands. (This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)'