In the past decade, many discoveries have been made about the relationship between cellular inflammation—understood as the imperceptible or “silent” inflammation of an organ or tissue that occurs with the activation of inflammatory mechanisms in response to the detection of a threat. results in. – and obesity. Most of the habits that lead to obesity – stress, junk food, insomnia, sedentary lifestyle – are pro-inflammatory in themselves, which worsen the relationship with food and make it more complicated.
A large number of factors are known to influence how much and what types of food we eat, including our genetics, hormone regulation and the environment in which we live. But What happens in our brain to tell us whether we are hungry or satiated is not entirely clearAlthough studies have shown that hypothalamus, A small almond-shaped area of the brain plays an important role.
Now, scientists from the University of Cambridge (UK) have shown that This organ is larger in the brain of overweight and obese people than in people of a healthy weight. The researchers say their findings are published in the journal Neuroimage Clinical, Add further evidence regarding the relevance of brain structure to weight and food intake. “Although we know that the hypothalamus is important in determining how much we eat, we actually have little direct information about this brain region in living humans. This is because it is very small and cannot be detected by conventional brain MRI. But it’s hard to differentiate.” explains Stephanie Brown, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Psychiatry and Lucy Cavendish College, as reported by EP.
Most of the evidence for the involvement of the hypothalamus in appetite regulation comes from animal studies. These suggest that there are complex communication pathways in this area of the brain, in which different cell populations work together to tell us when we are hungry or full.
For this reason, Brown and his team used machine learning algorithms to analyze brain MRIs of 1,351 young adults with different BMIs, Look for differences in the hypothalamus when comparing underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese individuals. the team figured it out The total volume of the hypothalamus was significantly greater in the overweight and obese young adult groups. In fact, the team found a Significant relationship between hypothalamic volume and body mass index (BMI).
Although the precise significance of the finding — including whether the structural changes are a cause or consequence of the change in body weight — is unclear, one possibility is that the change is related to inflammation. it is known High fat diet can cause inflammation of the hypothalamus, Which in turn causes insulin resistance and obesity. In mice, three days of a high-fat diet is sufficient to cause this inflammation. According to the team, Inflammation may explain why the hypothalamus is larger in these people. One suggestion is that the body reacts to inflammation by increasing the size of specialized immune cells in the brain, called glia.
“If what we see in mice is the same as in people, then a high-fat diet could cause inflammation in our appetite control center. Over time,” he adds, “this will change our ability to know that When we’ve eaten enough and the way our body processes blood sugar will affect our weight gain,” explains Brown.
Study lead author Paul Fletcher, from Cambridge’s Department of Psychiatry and Clare College, said: “Our hope is that with this new approach of analyzing brain scans on large data sets, we can extend this work to humans.” man and eventually rLink these subtle brain structural findings to changes in appetite and eating and generate a more comprehensive understanding of obesity.” Add.
However, scientists say more research is needed to see whether the increased volume of the hypothalamus is a result of being overweight or whether people with larger hypothalamus tend to overeat. It is also possible that these two factors interact with each other to cause a feedback loop.