...The notion that brain damage might play a role in body weight is not a new one, according to Michael Schwartz of the Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Scientists have known for about five years that the hypothalamus of overweight animals - including humans - displays inflammation, a typical reaction to injury.
But researchers, led by Schwartz, wanted to determine the role hypothalamus injury plays in obesity, and they had several questions they wanted to answer:
“Is it simply a consequence of becoming obese or does it occur before the obesity occurs?" says Schwartz. "And what could be driving that response? What is causing the inflammatory response and could that have something to do with the obesity itself?”
Schwartz’s team put laboratory mice and rats on a high-fat diet to make them gain weight. When they looked for evidence of inflammation in their brains, they made a startling discovery...