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New study: gene keeps you slim
Unfortunately, the pounds on the scales often increase with age. Researchers now think they have found another reason for this. For example, nerve cells in the brain that control sexuality could also affect body weight. Fertility keeps you slim. That also applies to men.
Fertility keeps you slim Why many women gain weight after menopause could be due to nerve cells in the brain that control sexuality. These cells could also influence body weight, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim in Hesse found. This mechanism, which was found in the new study, led to fertility being kept slim. Even in men over 50, the falling libido could lead to more kilos on the scales, but for them in a more gradual process.
Restricted by extreme overweight
So far it was known that fertility is restricted by extreme overweight. The new discovery by the Max Planck scientists, which is based on tests on mice, could indicate that this principle also applies in reverse: body weight increases when fertility decreases. The researchers published their results in the journal "Journal of Neuroscience". According to institute spokesman Matthias Heil, this result is transferable to humans, since the core is a gene that he also carries.
Gen creates sexual desire
The researchers switched off the NSCL-2 gene in a type of mouse brain cell for their experiments. The gene that stimulates many nerve cells to perform certain tasks causes the sexual organs to mature and stimulate sexual desire at the beginning of puberty. The scientists found that the gene, in interaction with another type of nerve cell, also controls metabolic activity. The nerve cells stimulated in this way, for example, give the brain information about available fat reserves and thus regulate the feeling of hunger.
Men are also affected
This gene is probably naturally eliminated in the human aging process. "It is no longer activated, maybe this type of nerve cell is no longer available," says Heil. Women may therefore no longer have a natural sense of when to stop eating after the menopause Age to that missing "eating brake".
Decreasing confidence in hormone therapy
Menopause begins in some women around the age of 40 and lasts between five and fifteen. While a third of the women feel no or only slight complaints during this time, a further third experience menopause with sometimes severe complaints. A few years ago, many women still relied on hormone preparations for menopausal complaints, according to a report by the Techniker Krankenkasse, confidence in such therapies has decreased significantly.
According to the TK, the reason for the massive decline could be that scientific studies have also shown possible dangers of hormone therapy - for example, an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, heart attack and thrombosis due to certain hormone preparations.
Further studies are to follow
So far, there have been different explanations for weight gain after menopause, such as a hormonal change in metabolism. According to the scientists, it is new that genes and nerve cells can also play a role. Further studies will now investigate whether the discovery of the gene mechanism can contribute to influencing age-related weight gain in humans. (ad)
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