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Italian scientists discover weight-loss enzyme

Boosting levels of a certain chemical in the brain could help dieters keep their weight down, according to an Italian scientist.

Endocrinologist Domenico Accili said that an enzyme called CPE in the hypothalamus area of the brain could help block a defense mechanism which reduces the body's calorie consumption when a person starts eating less.

"Losing weight activates a defense mechanism which makes the body more efficient so that it can get by on less energy," Accili said.

"That's why dieters who lose weight at first often end up gaining it back," Accili said in his findings, published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine, "when CPE levels in mice were low, they ate more and burned less energy."

"But when they were high, the mice ate less and burned energy at the usual rate."

"The most important part about this study is that it provides an explanation for why people on diets often put the weight back on."

"If we were able to develop medication that boosted CPE in the body, we could help people who have lost weight not to gain it back."

Accili said that he was confident that CPE-activating drugs could be developed in the near future as a number of similar medications to treat diabetes and infectious diseases were already on the market.

The director of Columbia University's Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center in New York, Accili is a native of the central Italian city of L'Aquila, which was struck by a devastating earthquake in April.
 

 
 
 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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