Obesity treatment news–and a question


This article talks about a new approach for treating obesity. When I read this my ears perked up.

Leptin triggers production of the active form of a peptide – áMSH – in the hypothalamus (controls hunger and metabolism). Researchers say this peptide, or small protein, is a powerful messenger that tells the brain to burn calories. Then we get into another peptide that works on the pituitary gland, which talks to the thyroid which then spreads the word to ask the body’s cells to produce more energy.

The reason I was so intrigued–never mind that I’d love to learn why it’s so hard to lose weight–was the “peptide” part. Read a book a couple of years ago by a fairly well known researcher called Candace Pert who (if I remember this correctly) confirmed the existence of neuropeptides (click, click, there’s that word) as the (stay with me here) place where emotions reside.

This is another one of those eerie moments where hard science and pscyhology collide. (And if we’re not careful, we might find religion in there somewhere, too.) Anyhow, the players on this one are pretty impressive: Brown Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital and Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.