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12 July 2011

Ghrelin makes you pay more for food

New human imaging studies implicate gut hormone in brain reward signals.

Have you ever wondered about why you are willing to pay more for food when you are hungry? Ghrelin, a naturally occurring gut hormone that signals hunger by acting on the brain, is instrumental in this process. One way that ghrelin acts is by increasing activity in brain "reward" regions when people view pictures of food. In this new study, the authors were interested in whether ghrelin affects people’s willingness to pay for food and non-food items. Brain activity was examined using functional MRI in normal weight volunteers while they placed bids for food or for non-food trinkets after being injected with ghrelin, or after being injected only with saline.

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