The key to weight reduction may be within the mind: examine

The secret to weight loss might be in the brain.

According to Science Daily, researchers have discovered newly identified sensory neurons that relay messages from adipose tissue to the brain.

“The discovery of these neurons suggests for the first time that your brain is actively monitoring your fat, not just passively receiving messages about it,” said Li Ye, Ph.D., the Abide Vividion Chair of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Associate Professor of neuroscience at Scripps Research who was a co-senior author of a new study.

“The implications of this finding are profound.”

The study, published in Nature, found that messages to adipose tissue can be optimized by the brain, noting that it can send messages directly to adipose tissue and affect the body’s metabolic processes, rather than responding to hormonal signals in the blood.

Research found a new pathway between the brain and fat cells.Getty Images

Led by a team from the Scripps Research Institute, co-senior authors Ye and Ardem Patapoutian developed two new methods to study the relationship between sensory neurons and adipose tissue.

First, they used an imaging approach called HYBRiD, which made mouse tissues transparent and allowed them to follow the paths of neurons through fat or adipose tissue.

To see how neurons work in adipose tissue, the researchers used a second new technique, which they dubbed ROOT, for “retrograde vectors optimized for organ tracking.” This allowed them to selectively destroy small portions of sensory neurons in adipose tissue to observe what happened.

In doing so, the researchers discovered that almost half of these neurons aren’t connected to the sympathetic nervous system — the neural network that helps your body mobilize its “fight-or-flight” response — but, as reported by Science Daily, to the back Root ganglia – “an area of ​​the brain from which all sensory neurons originate,” responsible for firing and sending signals to the rest of the nervous system about the information being received.

The researchers used two new methods to trace the pathway of neurons from the brain to adipose tissue.The researchers used two new methods to trace the pathway of neurons from the brain to adipose tissue.Getty Images

When the communication from the sensory neurons was silenced, the sympathetic nervous system began converting the white fat cells into brown fat, which can then burn calories through a process called thermogenesis, speeding up the body’s fat-burning processes.

Before the study, researchers believed that the nerves in fat belonged primarily to the sympathetic nervous system and turned on fat-burning pathways when the body was stressed or when it was exercising.

Now, they speculate that two opposing nerve signals might work in concert with the sympathetic nervous system to turn on fat-burning processes, while the sensory neuron pathway turns the process off.

“This tells us that there isn’t just one universal instruction that the brain sends adipose tissue,” Ye explained. “It’s more nuanced than that; These two types of neurons act like an accelerator and brake for fat burning.”

In mammals, adipose tissue stores energy in the form of fat cells and releases these stores when the body needs energy, and also controls hormones and signaling molecules related to hunger and metabolism. Energy storage and signaling are often confused in diseases such as diabetes, fatty liver, atherosclerosis and obesity.

“The team doesn’t yet know exactly what messages the sensory neurons carry from adipose tissue to the brain, only that the connections and communication are key to keeping fat healthy,” explained Science Daily.

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