Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rockefeller University Study on Ghrelin Hormone

Scientists at Columbia and Rockefeller Universities identified cells that time the release of a hormone that makes animals anticipate food and eat even if not hungry. This has implications for the treatment of obesity and is the culmination of decades-old research.

Rae Silver, head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology ad Behavior at Columbia University ad Helene L. and Mark N. Kaplan Professor at Barnard College, Joseph LeSauter, senior scientist at Barnard and Donald W. Pfaff, at Rockefeller University show that these cells release the hormone ghrelin that “tells” the brain to eat. The hormone is controlled by circadian rhythms set my mealtime patterns. Research was done on mice.

The anticipation of food is synchronized wit metabolic cycles. Ghrelin triggers food-seeking behavior. Mice that lacked ghrelin receptor foraged for food later and less often than those that had it. The studies had shown that people given ghrelin were voracious. Pfaff said that if you eat all the time, ghrelin levels will not be well-controlled, so it is best to eat at regular intervals. Ghrelin is the only known natural appetite stimulant made outside the brain. It is a promising target for drug developers. Most appetite drugs focus on satiety.

I believe that for most, exercise and diet works, and you do not need drugs. This is interesting, because ewe can see how individual genes, which may different for ghrelin and ghrelin receptor abundance, and eating patterns, which can be changed, influence obesity.

Disclaimer: None of the above information can be taken as a substitute for advice from a medical professional such as a physician.

My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on,, and If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories.

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