Want to trick your brain into making you feel less hungry? Now a new study shows how scientists could use a virus to alter your brain so you don't get as hungry.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins gave a group of rats a virus which inhibited the neuropeptide Y (NPY) protein in the dorsomedial hypothalamus of the brain, which is linked to appetite and hunger. As a result, the rats exposed to the virus ate and weighed less than the control group.
But the effects went further than that.
By giving the infected rats an insanely high calorie diet, the researchers found something unexpected: rather than the usual build-up of white fat at the base of the tail, there were indicators that the rats were forming brown fat, which is much easier for the body to burn through than the stuff that usually builds up around our bellies.
Basically, this virus kept the rats thin, and even when they ate fat, it was good for them. Get ready for designer health virii!