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Appetite Might Have an On-Off Switch

August 14, 2014

Deep inside the brain might be a power switch that controls appetite. Well, kind of. A small network of cells recently discovered by researchers in mouse brains indicates that it’s possible that our heads hold the power to turn hunger on and off. 

“This was an accidental discovery,” David Anderson, senior scientist on the study that was reported in Nature Neuroscience, said in a press release. While looking for anxiousness and fear in the amygdala, instead it was discovered that if a light went off while a mouse was chowing down, the signal made them disinterested in food. It’s also possible that the subject became anxious and fearful and therefore lost their appetites. 

The finding could lead to a better understanding — and possibly even treatment — of eating disorders. Like some of the most amazing aha moments in history (penicillin, Coca Cola, and microwaves, to name a few) this unexpected finding could be a real breakthrough. Talk about a happy accident.