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Scientists eliminate sugar abuse in mice – what could that mean for your diet?



If you give the mouse a cookie, no one else may be required. That is, if you first wire your brain properly.

Neuroscientists at Columbia University eliminated sugar cravings in mice by turning on and off neuron transmitters in the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. After the neuronal tinkering, the mice tasted sweet as bitter and bitter as sweet. Water suddenly became as attractive to rodents as sugar.

The research, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, could help in the treatment and understanding of obesity and eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa

Tongue cells send signals to specific regions of the brain to increase the taste of the food recognize and trigger the right behavior.

"When our brain recognizes a taste, it not only identifies its quality, it choreographs a wonderful symphony of neural signals that connect this experience to its context, hedonic value, memories, emotions, and the other senses to provide a coherent response "said Charles S. Zuker, chief investigator of the newspaper and chief examiner at the Columbia Zuckerman Institute, in a statement from the university. [19659169] Earlier investigations conducted by Zuker showed that the taste comes from discrete units that can be isolated, modified and removed. Scientists found a separation between sweet and bitter regions in the flavor cortex, which continues into the amygdala, allowing researchers to manipulate the different flavor centers independently.

Artificial shutdown of the sweet compounds in the amygdala allowed the mice to still recognize the taste, but without the emotional reaction.

"It would be like a bite of your favorite chocolate cake, but do not enjoy it," said study lead author Li Wang, a postdoctoral scientist at the Zuckerman Institute, in the statement. "After a few bites, you may stop eating while you would otherwise have stopped."

Michelle Robertson is an SFGATE employee. Send them to [email protected] or search them on Twitter at @mrobertsonsf .


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