Local News

Researchers Discover Hormone In Battle Of The Bulge

Posted February 13, 2006

— If you have ever struggled with losing weight, you have probably wished for a magic pill that lets you eat whatever you want without packing on pounds. That idea may be closer to reality than you think.

For millions of people, the scale does not tip in their favor. Eating less and exercising more is the answer, but many people want something easier.

"Everybody is looking for the magic cure for obesity," said Professor Stephen Bloom, of the Imperial College of London.

Bloom may not have found that magic cure, but he might have discovered something close -- a natural hormone, oxyntomodulin, that makes you feel full.

"We've found a hormone is released from the gut," he said. "This hormone acts on the brain, tells the brain that the gut's full of food. You don't need to feel hungry anymore."

For many people, the hormone kicks in too late and they eat too much. Now, researchers at the Imperial College of London have learned how to isolate it. Plus, they can give it to people in the form of a shot.

Colin Aldelton took it for a month and lost almost 20 pounds.

"I just couldn't eat half of the amount of food I would normally eat, and I still never felt hungry," she said.

Aldelton lost more than most. During a four-week study, the average weight loss for patients was about five pounds. Still, the experts are impressed with the results.

The process is similar to what happens after surgery to shrink the stomach. The new egg-sized stomach releases the hormone faster than before. Then, the patient eats less. Bloom said his way would be much safer and cheaper than surgery.

The final product of the weight loss drug may not be a shot, but possibly a pill or nasal spray, but research is still in its early stages so it could be five to 10 years before anything hits the market.

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