ROCHESTER, Minn. - A research breakthrough at the Mayo Clinic could help people keep weight off once they've lost it.
And the discovery came unexpectedly.
Dr. Stephen Brimijoin was working on the addictive nature of drugs when he says he stumbled on this weight loss idea.
"I said, 'Woah, we must be manipulating some kind of stress-anxiety hormone,'" he said.
Then, six months ago, he and his team injected one of two mice with an enzyme.
It worked, helping the mouse avoid over-eating.
"Mice, just like men, have a tremendous resurge of craving for food after they have been obese," Brimijoin said.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say it's hard for people who lose weight to keep it off because a key hunger hormone gets triggered, constantly. Food is the reward.
This discovery helps with that hormone, essentially, reducing the cravings.
"It chews up the hormone that acts on the centers in the brain that says, 'I need this stuff. I need it,'" Brimijoin said.
According to Brimijoin, the mice had no side effects and they all maintained a healthy weight for the rest of their lives. He's confident in his research and says one day this will help people who have a family history of obesity or even diabetes.
The research has appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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