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Pennington Biomedical study looking at brain-fat cell communication, calorie burning

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 11:19 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:26 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In our Healthline news, scientists are continuing to find better ways to treat obesity. This comes as the Louisiana Department of Health reports nearly one out of four adults in Louisiana is considered to be obese.

“We do have a lot of obese people in Louisiana, and we do hope that is study and understanding how the body adapts in regular challenges from the environment to modify leptin levels and how that really works,” said Dr. Heike Muenzberg-Gruening with Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Dr. Muenzberg-Gruening is one of those who received a National Institutes of Health grant to learn more about interoception, the ways in which organisms sense and regulate signals within their bodies.

If your interoception is faulty, you may not be able to sense whether you are cold, hot, hungry, or full.

“The problem is that the vast majority of obesity that we have in humans actually is associated with higher leptin levels, and it’s causing a leptin resistance,” said Dr. Muenzberg-Gruening.

She is learning how the brain and body fat communicate to control the production and release of leptin. That is also known as a feedback hormone that helps regulate appetite and the number of calories burned.

With this, researchers could find better ways to treat obesity.

“Leptin levels are also associated with many other brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, learning and memory deficits, substance abuse, mental illness and neuropathic pain,” said Dr. Muenzberg-Gruening.

The study hopes to find better ways for people to lose weight and live healthier lives.

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