You have proteins on your mind

Sun 11 Jun

Food cravings are something we are all familiar with but scientists have only just begun to understand the science behind them.

In a new study by Professor Mark N. Wu at John Hopkins University, published in Science, scientists established the circuit of brain cells which controls fruit fly hunger for a protein diet.

This is especially important for understanding how the brain controls hunger for certain nutrients may help in the treatment of obesity in humans.

Animals are known to change preferences for food when they lack a certain nutrient, like protein. Not only do they have to make behaviour changes to increase the level of a nutrient in the body but these changes need to be sustained. This is essential for the animal's survival and this diet adjustment is known as the "specific appetite hypothesis".

The study looked at what happens in the brain when the body desperately needs protein. In their experiments, the scientists looked at pregnant fruit fly brains as they are known to have greater cravings for protein. It was found that when these female fruit flies craved protein, a certain type of brain cell became active. These specific cells talked to other cells in the brain using a chemical messenger- glutamine.

This finding helped the scientists establish the existence of an entire circuit of brain cells, which are thought to be responsible for making fruit flies crave proteins.

Once the scientists had found this circuit of brain cells, they looked at the brains of male fruit flies to see if this circuit became active in their brains as well and whether it was something special within the female fruit fly brain. They found that the same circuit was activated in the male fruit fly brains, suggesting that this was not unique to female fruit flies!

Strangely, this circuit of brain cells did not affect the flies' appetite when they were activated but they did stop the fruit fly from craving sugar, which is what they normally prefer.

In future, scientists would like to determine which molecules cause these brain cells to activate and then look for the same molecules in mammals.

This molecular approach to looking into hunger and cravings could pave the path to new, non-invasive treatments for substantial weight loss.

However, there is a long road ahead!

Image credit:

Write a comment ...
Post comment

Why Hillary Is Good For Your Health

Hillary the hawk at Stachus
Passing through the basement floor at Stachus these days you might not be sure if you can trust your eyes, as Hillary the Harris Hawk is likely to...

Oh dear, Obikes

Obike Muenchen
So far since launch, 6800 Obikes bikes have been positioned in Munich. More and more of these bicycles-for-rent are being deliberately damaged. Not...

Winter Tollwood 2017

Tollwood Winter Festival
Tollwood Winter Festival 2017 is currently taking place at the Theresienwiese in Munich.
This year's festival motto is: "We, all. Let's stand up and...

Engineering Jobs Fair in Munich

Munich Engineering Jobs - accepting CVs
The Association of German Engineers (VDI) is hosting its annual engineering recruitment fair on Thursday 16th November in Munich. The day-long event...

Second S-Bahn weekend maintenance closures

SBahn delays
For the second - and last - time of the year, the S-Bahn Stammstrecke (main line) will be out of service due to repair and maintenance works.


Follow-Up on the Unterfoehring shooting

A 26-year-old female police officer was severely injured three months ago during a routine check at the Unterföhring S-Bahn station. The suspected...

Institutionalist Ciudadanos won the election, but pro independence parties retain majority

Ines Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos with 37 seats obtained most of the support from voters (25,3), but it wasn´t enough to break a majority of pro...

DB Sprinter Hits Technical Issues

It should have been the glorious end of a long and expensive journey; after more than 25 years of planning, political discussions, building halts and...

Is an Executive MBA Worth it?

Chicago Booth MBA
The Future of Business Education: Is an Executive MBA Worth it? Join Chicago Booth in Munich for a candid panel discussion and audience Q&A with...

Rosenheimerplatz Knife Attack - multiple victims

UPDATE: Munich police have now confirmed the man being held is in fact their prime suspect and the emergency situation is now over. UPDATE: a man...

Munich Top City for IT and Engineering

Munich top city for engineering jobs
Back in 2014, a study by the European Commission confirmed that Munich is the city that offers Information and Communication Technology (ICT)...

Munich Students Win Hyperloop Contest

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and the aerospace company SpaceX, launched the "Hyperloop Pod Competition" in 2015. The Hyperloop is the concept of a...

Advertise with The Munich Eye
Public Service Advertisements
Shades of Love
Spanish Finca for rent Web Site Optimisation
Newspaper sudoku