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Sugar Addiction: Discovery of a Brain Sugar Switch

(Technical University of Munich) Researchers at Technical University of Munich discovered that our brain actively takes sugar from the blood. Prior to this, researchers around the world had assumed that this was a purely passive process. An international team led by diabetes expert Matthias Tschöp reported … that transportation of sugar into the brain is regulated by so-called glia cells that react to hormones such as insulin or leptin; previously it was thought that this was only possible for neurons…
According to the scientists, numerous new studies will now be necessary to adjust the old model of purely neural control of food intake and metabolism with a concept where astrocytes and possibly even immune cells in the brain also play a crucial role. Once there is a better understanding of the interaction between these various cells, the idea is to find ways and substances that modulate pathways on multiple cell types to curb sugar addiction and ultimately provide better treatment to the growing number of obese and diabetic individuals. "We have a lot of work ahead of us," states [Dr. Cristina] García-Cáceres, "but at least now we have a better idea where to look."
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