Joining leptin, melanocortin, and ghrelinin the group of appetite-suppressinghormones is obestatin, which is producedby the same gene that producesghrelin. Researchers, led by AaronHsueh, PhD, of Stanford University, useddata gathered by the Human GenomeProject in their discovery. Dr. Hsuehfound that treating rats with obestatinsuppressed their food intake—whichopens possibilities to develop the drugfor humans, either by injection or possiblya nasal spray. Scientists caution,however, that the effects of obestatinmay be limited and may cause an illnessor nausea that decreases appetite. Todate, research on appetite-suppressinghormones has yet to produce a cure forobesity.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.