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Your brain and hormones may conspire to make you fat

Washington Why do some people get fat even when they eat relatively little? What creates that irresistible urge for a bag of potato chips or a hunk of chocolate cake, as opposed to a nice crisp apple? Can food urges be irresistible?

Physiologists are unraveling the role that your hormones and brain play in urging you to eat more than you should. Some peoples hormones may be signaling their brains to send messages like Eat a lot now, and Go for the fat and sugar.

Four physiologists will clarify the latest research on the brains role in obesity, during the symposium, Obesity and the Central Nervous System. The symposium will take place at the 120th annual meeting of The American Physiological Society (APS), which coincides with Experimental Biology 2007. The session will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, April 30 in Room 146B of the Washington Convention Center and is cosponsored by the London-based Journal of Physiology.

The body has a physiological predisposition to balance its energy needs with its desire for food. The hormones and brain communicate to determine when an individual is full, with the brain issuing the signal that says Stop eating with the help of information it receives from hormones. But prolonged food shortages, chronic stress, prenatal nutrition, early exercise patterns and other factors can affect how the brain orchestrates this balance. In places where food is scarce, the brain may encourage higher consumption, especially of high fat and sugary foods, even when the food supply becomes more abundant. Thats an adaptive response that helps the body weather periods of food shortages.

But the brain may also respond to stress in the same way, encouraging the intake of high fat and sugary foods comfort foods - that can result in obesity that is nearly impossible to reverse.

Why some of us get fat and what we can do it about it, is the question Barry E. Levin, M.D., a professor at the New Jersey Medica
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Contact: Chris Guilfoy
CGuilfoy@The-APS.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
30-Apr-2007


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