If you say you can’t quit smoking because you’ll get fat, you appear to have a point, but a new study is providing some evidence that excuse may be on the way out.
Yale biology professor Marina Picciotta led a study that has been published in the journal “Science” that outlines how “nicotine activates certain neurons in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus” and those neurons tell your body it’s had enough to eat.
Picciotta's team has pinpointed the brain cells nicotine triggers to reduce appetite and body fat. Nicotine activates different kinds of brain-cell receptors with widely different effects.
Picciotto says, in a news release, “"We found that nicotine reduced eating and body fat through receptors implicated in nicotine aversion and withdrawal rather than reward and reinforcement."
She added: "We would like to help people maintain their body weight when they kick the habit and perhaps help non-smokers who are struggling with obesity.'' The study was on mice, but researchers hope a similar result can come when people are tested.
The results actually came about by accident when a scientist “was studying nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which are on the surface of neurons, to see if an experimental drug to treat depression would have any effect,” according to the story. ''He noticed that mice given the drug ate less than those not on the medication.''