(Hershey) -- Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey are investigating a new reason gastric bypass surgery is often effective in treating obesity.
In addition to restricting the size of the stomach, assistant professor Kirsteen Browning says the procedure changes the properties of nerve cells that regulate the digestive system.
"What appears to happen is that after the gastric bypass we are restoring the responsiveness of these nerves to these ongoing normal satiety signals, which is allowing them to function as they did before," Browning explains.
It's the first research demonstrating damage to such cells can be reversed -- so the gut can properly signal the brain that it's full.
Browning says a better understanding of these nerve cells could better identify potential candidates for bypass surgery, and help scientists develop new, non-surgical treatments for obesity.
The research is being funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.
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