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Obesity linked to brain chemistry

Recent research suggests that being overweight may be down to more than just eating habits and may have an origin in brain chemistry

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 21:04 IST

A recent research suggests that being overweight may be down to more than just eating habits and may have an origin in brain chemistry.

Researchers further stated that fat is a neurobiological issue, and the brains of overweight people have more receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin than those with normal weight.

They say that genes are important in determining fat’s prevalence.

David Erritzoe and his colleagues at the Neurobiology Research Unit at Rigshospitalet, part of Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, used positron emission tomography to map the brains of 47 people of normal weight and 29 overweight people.

Drugs that block the serotonin receptor are associated with weight gain, and in animals, stimulating the receptor causes weight loss, suggesting that this receptor plays a role in regulating body weight. The researchers found slightly higher concentrations of the receptor in overweight people.

"I think it's important for people with weight problems to know that there may be a neurobiological side to it," New Scientist quoted Erritzoe, as saying.