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Hormone found to decrease appetite and increase activity

External Sites:
-International Journal of Obesity
-Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust
(Imperial College is not responsible for the content of these external internet sites)

For immediate release
Wednesday 26 April 2006

New research shows how topping up the levels of a hormone found in the gut could help reduce the appetite and increase activity in overweight and obese people.

Topping up hormone found to decrease appetite, and also increase energy expendit.

The study now being pre-published online in the International Journal of Obesity shows how the team from Imperial College London gave injections of oxyntomodulin to fifteen overweight but healthy volunteers from Hammersmith Hospital, and monitored how this affected their food intake, and levels of activity.

Professor Steve Bloom Opens in new window, from Imperial College London, who led the research, said: "The discovery that this hormone has a double effect, increasing energy expenditure as well as reducing food intake, could be of huge importance. When most people diet, this produces a reduction in activity, which is probably an adaptive trait to conserve energy during times of famine. However this does make it especially difficult for obese individuals trying to lose weight. In contrast oxyntomodulin decreases calorific intake, but actually increases energy expenditure, making it an ideal intervention for the obese."

The researchers used fifteen healthy overweight male and female volunteers, aged between 23 and 49 years. The volunteers completed three separate four-day study sessions, where they self administered either saline or oxyntomodulin according to a double blind randomised trial.

After the first injection, the volunteers were given a meal, and their calorific intake was monitored. They spent the next two days in their normal environment, self administering oxyntomodulin three times a day before meals. On the fourth day, the volunteers came back to the hospital to have their energy expenditure measured.

They found that after the first meal, the volunteers ate on average 128 kcal or 17.4 percent less, while activity related energy expenditure increased by an average of 143 kcal or 26.2 percent.

The researchers also found a reduction in body weight by an average of 0.5 percent.

Professor Bloom added: "This discovery could provide doctors with a whole new way to treat the current obesity epidemic. We need to get away from the focus on food and start to think about how to increase exercise. The question is how to make people enjoy taking exercise and how to encourage them to do it spontaneously.

"Oxyntomodulin could work by letting the brain know it has an adequate energy supply and that it can afford to do productive things rather than concentrate solely on food seeking or conserving energy. It signals to the brain that it can increase exercise by letting it know that the energy is available to do more things.

"If used as a therapy for obesity, oxyntomodulin provides a double whammy - reducing food intake and increasing spontaneous activity."

For further information please contact:

Tony Stephenson
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Notes to editors:

1. Oxyntomodulin increases energy expenditure in addition to decreasing energy intake in overweight and obese humans: a randomised controlled trial, International Journal of Obesity..

2. Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,000) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality.
Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.