Your brain on food: fMRI shows obesity drug’s impact on brain function

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are using fMRI to show how the diabetes and weight loss drug liraglutide affects brain receptors to make the body react differently to enticing foods.

The researchers discovered the drug decreases activation in the brain’s cortex, which increases control and makes individuals pay more attention to what they are eating, suggesting the medication might prove effective as a potential weight loss therapy.

“Our findings open the possibility for combination drugs for the treatment of obesity,” said Christos Mantzoros, MD, of Harvard Medical School. “This might create more powerful solutions and is something that remains to be explored. One-third of the U.S. population is obese and another one-third is overweight. This is a huge burden and increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer. We need to continue to develop safe and effective therapies to combat this epidemic.”

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