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Blocking Grehlin Reduces Hunger in Pigs

Posted on Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 05:17PM by Registered CommenterPennino Corp. CEO | CommentsPost a Comment

By John Lauerman

Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Keeping pigs skinny may be as likely as making them fly, yet researchers say they have found a way to lower their levels of a powerful hunger hormone so they stopped gaining weight.

The scientists blocked production of a hormone called ghrelin, which creates the sensation of hunger. If a similar procedure could be done safely in humans, it may help people fight obesity, the researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said in today's issue of the journal Radiology.

The procedure used chemicals to block blood supply to a stomach region, called the fundus, that makes 90 percent of the body's ghrelin. Pigs that underwent the surgery stopped gaining weight, while comparison animals continued to fatten, the study found. Human studies could examine whether the operation could be an alternative to bariatric surgery now done to reduce stomach size, researchers said.

``Obesity is a huge problem, and there are very limited options for people who have exhausted diets and other methods to reduce weight,'' said Aravind Arepally, clinical director of Hopkins's Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design in Baltimore, in a Sept. 12 in a telephone interview. ``This procedure leaves the stomach's anatomy intact, and just targets the part that produces the hormone.''

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