“It hits decision-making centers.” Scientists explain how hunger hormones control the behavior of animals

“It hits decision-making centers.”  Scientists explain how hunger hormones control the behavior of animals

A hunger hormone produced in the gut can directly affect the activity of the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for making decisions) when the animal is looking at food. He suppresses her instincts and forces her to eat a piece.

Therefore, according to scientists from University College London, hunger in a certain way “dictates” the behavior of animals, according to a study published in the journal Neuron, writes MedicalXpress.

“We found that a part of the brain critical to decision-making is surprisingly sensitive to the levels of hunger hormones produced in our gut, which we think helps our brain contextualize our food choices.”said the lead author of the study, Dr. Andrew Macaskill.

For the study, scientists put mice in an arena where there was some food. There were full and hungry animals in the group. Scientists observed how they behaved and recreated a map of the brain’s neuronal activity.

Photo: fantom_rd/Depositphotos

All mice spent time exploring food, but only hungry animals began to eat.

The scientists focused on activity in the lower part of the hippocampus, the decision-making part of the brain that helps form and use memories to guide our behavior.

Activity in this area increased as animals approached food, and this activity prevented the animal from eating.

But if the mouse was hungry, the neural activity in this area was less, so the hippocampus did not prevent it from eating. The researchers found that this corresponded to high levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin circulating in the blood.

“It appears that the hippocampus inhibits the animal’s instinct to eat when it encounters food, but prevents it from overeating. But if the animal is really hungry, the hormones cause the brain to shut down, so the animal starts eating“, explained Dr. Macaskill.

The scientists are continuing their research to see if hunger can affect learning or memory by observing whether the mice perform tasks unrelated to food differently depending on how hungry they are.

It will be recalled that earlier scientists explained why people with a feeling of hunger feel angry and irritated.

Read also: Intermittent fasting can reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease – study

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