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Alzheimer’s linked to hunger hormone

A person’s risk of contracting Alzheimer’s may be linked to levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, according to a US study published on Wednesday which could point the way toward future treatment of the disease.

world Updated: Dec 17, 2009 00:05 IST

A person’s risk of contracting Alzheimer’s may be linked to levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, according to a US study published on Wednesday which could point the way toward future treatment of the disease.

The Journal of the American Medical Association said scientists in Massachusetts found that high levels of the hormone leptin, which controls appetite, appears to be related to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

“These findings are consistent with recent experimental data indicating the leptin improves memory function in animals... and strengthens the evidence that leptin is a hormone with a broad set of actions in the central nervous system,” said the authors of the study, researchers with the Framingham Heart Study, a research project under the direction of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Leptin sends a signal to the brain after a meal that a person has had enough to eat, thereby reducing the urge to eat.