Professor David Nutt discusses the GHADD Study
GHADD Study online screening pageLearn more about gut hormones


We are investigating the effects that certain gut hormones (hormones that are produced in the stomach and intestine) have on the brain.

Previous studies have shown that these gut hormones not only control our appetite and food intake, but may also alter the craving for alcohol and drugs. We are recruiting volunteers for our study using brain scanning to investigate the effects of such gut hormones on eating and addictive behaviours.

We are interested in how these hormones may help people who are overweight, or have recently given up alcohol or cigarettes. This could give us important information about how the hormones affect relapse to alcohol and cigarettes, and have the additional benefits of preventing weight gain.

We will investigate the effects of these hormones through their infusion via a cannula in your arm while you undergo an MRI scan and do some simple computer tasks. You will also complete some questionnaires and have blood taken.

These hormones have been used in many medical research studies before and are safe.

Ethical approval and and payment

The GHADD study is funded by the UK Medical Research Council and will take place at the Hammersmith Hospital, at Imperial College London. The GHADD study has been ethically approved by the London-Central Research Ethics Committee: 15/LO/1041.

You will receive payment for your time and travel expenses if you take part in the GHADD study.


What is involved?

If you are interested in taking part we would then contact you by phone for a telephone screening to confirm you are eligible and let you know more about the study. You would then need to come for an initial morning screening visit, followed by 3 study visits over a 4-6 week period. All visits will take place at the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Imperial Clinical Research Facility and the Imanova Centre for Imaging Sciences, at the Hammersmith Hospital (near White City, London W12 0NN).

Am I eligible?

To be eligible to take part, you need to be:

  • Either male or female
  • 18-60 years of age


  • a cigarette smoker who has recently quit smoking (6 weeks to 2 years ago), or
  • a person with alcohol dependence who has recently quit drinking (6 weeks to 5 years ago), or
  • overweight or obese, and recently started a weight management programme, and do not have a history of alcohol, tobacco or substance dependence.

Note that even if you have not yet stopped smoking or drinking, or have not yet entered a weight management programme, but are planning to do so in the near future, you can still contact us now to discuss the study. The screening or study visits can then be arranged later at the appropriate time depending on your progress.

  • Able to read, speak and understand spoken and written English
  • Willing to complete 4 separate visits to the Hammersmith Hospital over approximately 4-6 weeks

You must NOT have had

  • a stroke
  • a heart attack
  • diabetes
  • pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • a heart pacemaker

You must NOT be

  • claustrophobic
  • vegetarian, vegan, or gluten- or lactose-intolerant

How do I find out more?

Please visit the GHADD Study Online Screening Page, so that we can see if you may be eligible to take part. If so, you will be given the opportunity to leave your contact details, so we can discuss the study with you.

Alternatively, if would like to learn more about the study and are happy for us to contact you, please e-mail the study team at by telephone on 020 7594 6648.

GHADD study team

Dr Yong Yong Ling


Dr Yong Yong Ling
Study Doctor

Dr Federica Vanelli

Federica Vanelli

Dr Federica Vanelli
Honorary Clinical Research Fellow

Funding and support




Imperial Clinical Research Facility

Imperial CRF

Imperial Clinical Research Facility

Medical Research Council (MRC)


Medical Research Council (MRC)

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)