Study reveals a novel learning process orchestrated between the digestive system and brain that compels animals to seek out novel foods.
For the 15% of American adults who suffer from frequent indigestion or functional dyspepsia, a new, non-invasive treatment may provide some relief. Respiratory-gated Auricular Vagal Afferent Nerve Stimulation (RAVANS), a form of taVNS, delivers short pulses of painless electrical current to the vagus nerve in tune with respiratory rhythms. The device can modulate the stomach's response to food ingestion, which is often impaired in those with functional dyspepsia.
The hunger hormone ghrelin doesn't just influence where and when animals eat, it also appears to have an impact on memory. Disrupting signaling of ghrelin to the vagus nerve caused rats to forget they had just eaten, even though the animals remembered they had just had access to food. Findings suggest disrupted ghrelin signaling could negatively impact episodic memory.
A recent study found 42% of participants gained, on average, 29 lb of unwanted weight during the pandemic, with people gaining 1.5lb per month. Researchers say a combination of stress, hormones, and dwindling motivation to exercise during the lockdowns may be to blame.