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The Hunger Hormone Unharnessed

Redrawn from images by Masayasu Kojima  THE ONE SIDE OF HOMEOSTASIS: Ghrelin, produced by the stomach, increases appetite, growth hormone (GH) release, and adiposity. But the process is far less straightforward than previously thought. Obesity is big. A public with a seemingly insatiable appetite for weight-loss products spends more than $35 billion (US) annually on diet products or programs in North America, according to the US Federal Trade Commission. And, basic research findings are

Stuart Blackman
Redrawn from images by Masayasu Kojima
 THE ONE SIDE OF HOMEOSTASIS: Ghrelin, produced by the stomach, increases appetite, growth hormone (GH) release, and adiposity. But the process is far less straightforward than previously thought.

Obesity is big. A public with a seemingly insatiable appetite for weight-loss products spends more than $35 billion (US) annually on diet products or programs in North America, according to the US Federal Trade Commission. And, basic research findings are accumulating like calories at the holidays. "Recent years have witnessed explosive growth in knowledge of the physiological factors regulating appetite and body weight," stated an editorial last year.1

The first three of this issue's Hot Papers2-4, all from Japanese teams, bolster the idea that ghrelin, a peptide originally implicated in the release of growth hormone, plays a central role in appetite regulation in rodents. A fourth paper from a group at Eli Lilly...

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