Saturday, June 19, 2010

The brain may control cholesterol

Cholesterol levels are controlled by a “hormone in the brain” the Daily Mail has reported.

It says the finding offers hope of new treatments to reduce levels of “the dangerous fat”.

The Mail’s story is based on animal research that appears to indicate that blood cholesterol levels are regulated remotely by the central nervous system. The researchers found that increasing levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which is thought to regulate energy intake, caused mice to develop higher levels of cholesterol. The finding that cholesterol can be regulated by the brain could be the basis for new drug treatments, they suggest.

The findings are interesting, but it is important to stress that there are large differences in the way cholesterol affects mice and humans. This is early research that points the way to further research into ghrelin, although more human studies are needed to draw firm conclusions about the brain regulating human blood cholesterol levels. It’s also important to note that, in humans, cholesterol levels can be controlled by diet, exercise and, where necessary, drug treatment...

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