Researchers Identify Neural Pathway that Controls Overeating

Junk food
Junk food
When activated, mice walked across an electrified pathway to reach the sugar reward.

Optogenetic research has led to the discovery of a reward-related neural circuit that controls compulsive overeating and sugar addiction, and researchers say the finding could lead to selective treatments for obesity and overeating disorders.

In mouse experiments, neuroscientist Kay M. Tye, and colleagues from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, confirmed that a pathway between two brain regions previously implicated in reward and addiction — the lateral hypothalamus and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) — plays a key role in sugar seeking and overeating.

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