Emotional brain drives eating A hormone that signals satiety stimulates the brain's reward centersA key signaling hormone that tells the brain when the stomach is full communicates with cognitive reward areas of the brain, according to a study published this week in Nature. The study is the first physiological demonstration that pleasure circuits play a key role in driving eating habits. "The discovery that a biological signal activates this region of the brain [while eating] is very exciting," Steven Williams of Kings College, London, a coauthor on the study, told The Scientist. Researchers have debated whether feeding behavior is dominated by the homeostatic demands of the hypothalamus or by reward-based signals sent from cognitive areas. Animal studies have suggested the former hypothesis, but psychologists have long known that reward plays a part in human eating patterns. Rachel Batterham of University College London and colleagues examined this question by...

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