09/17/2013 10:26 am ET

Weight Regain Linked With Desensitization Of 'Fullness' Signals


A new finding in mice could shed light on why some obese people who lose weight regain the pounds.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide found that the signal for "fullness" that's sent to the brain is desensitized in normal-weight mice after they had consumed a high-fat diet for a long period of time.

The study, which is published in the International Journal of Obesity, shows that the "fullness" signals to the brain are desensitized in two ways.

One way is that "the stomach's nerve response does not return to normal upon return to a normal diet. This means you would need to eat more food before you felt the same degree of fullness as a healthy individual," study researcher Amanda Page, an associate professor in the university's Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory, said in a statement.

Plus, the hormone leptin, which is known to play a role in food intake regulation, can also desensitize nerves that detect fullness in the stomach, researchers explained.

However, more research is necessary to see if these effects on nerve sensitivity are permanent or not.