You’re dieting, and you know you should stay away from high-calorie snacks. Yet, your eyes keep straying toward that box of chocolates, and you wish there was a pill to restrain your impulse to inhale them. Such a pill might one day be a real possibility, according to findings presented Tuesday at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Diego. It would block the activity of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” that stimulates the appetite centres of the brain.
The study results come as no surprise, said Alain Dagher, an associate professor of neurology at McGill University in Montreal, who has been studying ghrelin. In his research, MRI scans of animals found that “ghrelin increases the brain response to food,” Dagher said. “So, it’s not surprising that a single injection in humans supports a shift to high-calorie foods in general.” Dagher is continuing his studies. “We’ve been trying to get more specific about exactly how ghrelin acts on the brain, which brain regions it affects and how those effects translate to eating,” he said.