`Hunger` Hormone Found By Research Team

Released on: May 8, 2008, 1:27 am

Press Release Author: Harvey Ong is a part-time writer and a part-time researcher.
He is currently self- studying various Far Eastern languages and is an avid fiction
reader. He is currently writing articles oriented towards consumers of
pharmaceutical products, but has written about used car loans, gambling and casino
strategies, and overseas travel in the past.

Industry: Healthcare

Press Release Summary: A natural chemical known as ghrelin, which has long been
linked to appetite and hunger, has been found to make food appear more appetizing.
Scientists believe that this could be a survival mechanism during times of famine,
but could be linked to obesity during times when food is readily available.

Press Release Body: May 6, Montreal - If food seems to always look appetizing to
you, then you might want to take a look at what hormones are running around your
system. A natural chemical named ghrelin was been found to enhance mental reactions
and memories in connection to food.

It also plays a role in making food appear more appetizing to the palate, by the way.

It has long been known that going to a supermarket or restaurant hungry is
guaranteed to make a person buy more food. This has always been the case and has
been a practice diet experts have advised everyone from doing. Alain Dagher, a
neurologist from Montreal's McGill University and part of the research team that
found ghrelin, stated that "we've found it is ghrelin that acts on the brain and
makes food more appealing."

Prior to this revelation, scientists were already aware of a few things about
ghrelin. First, they knew that it had to be linked to hunger somehow, since the
levels of it in the bloodstream experienced fluctuations before and after a meal. It
has been suspected of having some effect on when the body feels hunger and
encourages eating in high amounts. Widespread effects on the brain have also been

There were some interesting results in the test. To see what kind of things the
hormone could do to people, a group was injected with it and another was merely told
they were injected, but were not. Both groups were asked to look at a number of
pictures of food. The research team found that they were literally seeing the
pictures better if they had been injected with ghrelin than if they were not. They
also exhibited a higher chance of remembering what the pictures were with the
chemical than without.

Scientists speculated that this was critical during times of famine. It is theorized
that it could have saved people from staring to death by making food look appetizing
when they would not have seen it as such otherwise. However, during times of plenty,
scientists suspect that it might ultimately be tied to obesity and overeating.

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