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Eat less, weigh more

Study reveals coordinated but distinct neural circuits for regulating feeding and fat storage in worms

2:05pm, August 5, 2008
Worms have it all backward. According to the diet books, it’s supposed to be eat more, weigh less. But when roundworms fall on tough times, they bulk up while eating less.

Now researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have genetically dissected the brain circuits responsible for that paradox. Call it denial. Call it what you will. The study, published in the Aug. 6 Cell Metabolism, shows that the brain of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans considers eating and making fat separate activities.

Dieters know all too well that cutting calories doesn’t always lead to weight loss. The new work, led by geneticist Kaveh Ashrafi, may help unravel that mystery and one day lead to treatments for obesity. The new findings also may help explain some of the variation in body weight seen among humans.

Many of the roundworm pathways identified in the new UCSF study are present in mammals, including human

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