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Study Says Naturally Produced Hormone Suppresses Appetite

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Boston (dpa) - A hormone produced by the digestive system apparently can help curb the appetite of obese people, British researchers said in a study published Thursday.

The study is based on a small number of volunteers who were given infusions of the hormone before a meal, researchers who conducted the study said. The volunteers consumed about 30 per cent less after receiving the hormone compared with the amount they ate after receiving a saline solution.

"It looks promising," said Stephen R. Bloom, a professor of medicine at the Imperial College in London who helped conduct the study.

On average the overweight people in the study had one-third less of the hormone, known as PYY3-36, in their blood prior to receiving the infusion. The deficiency of PYY3-36 in overweight people could be the reason they gain weight and others don't, researcher Rachel Batterham of the Imperial College is quoted as saying in an article about the research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

However, only 24 people participated in the study, a relatively small number, and researchers caution that more studies are needed to determine whether the hormone can help people lose weight and keep it off.

Copyright 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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