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Obesity and its consequences – Understanding how brain impacts overeating

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New research reveals that the brain has complex circuitry that locks appetite to memories of finding and enjoying food. This drives the feeding behaviors necessary for survival and the circuits include one mechanism that does the opposite: curbing the compulsion to eat in response to food.

Once, scientists thought that gut instincts drove animals’ feeding behavior with very little input from the brain.

The sight and smell of food, they maintained, was enough to trigger eating.

However, since then, more and more evidence has suggested that the brain does intervene to perform some decision-making about whether to proceed with eating or not, with less clarity of which nerve cells are involved.


Meanwhile, According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more deaths globally are linked to overweight and obesity than to underweight. Since 1975, the number of people worldwide with obesity has tripled.

The WHO attribute this crisis to the rising consumption of energy-dense, high-fat food at the same time that lifestyles and jobs have become less physically demanding. The result is an upset in energy balance that favors weight gain.

National survey figures from 2013–2014 — which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) use in their reports — show that overweight or obesity affects more than two-thirds of adults in the United States. The survey also found that about 1 in 6 children and teenagers aged 2–19 years have obesity.


Overweight and obesity can have serious health consequences. They can raise the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death worldwide in 2012.

Carrying too much weight can also increase the risk of some cancers and make it more likely that disabling conditions that impair the joints, such as osteoarthritis, will develop.

Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity and disability and die prematurely as adults. They are also more likely to develop respiratory problems, fractures, high blood pressure, and show early signs of cardiovascular disease.

However, Treatments for overweight and obesity usually focus on changing lifestyle and habits in order to lose weight. These changes include adopting healthful eating patterns and increasing physical activity.

However, lifestyle changes may not be enough to help some people lose weight and keep it off. Doctors need to consider additional aids to weight loss, including drugs and surgery.

 Gaining a better understanding of the brain circuits that control eating impulses could help improve such treatments.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Zimbawe’s doctor goes missing after masterminding strike

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Fearless Zimbabwe’s minister of health has called on the government to address insecurity lapses that has lead to the disappearance Peter Magombeyi, the head of a doctor’s union, who disappeared on Saturday.

Fears are rising over the fate of Zimbabwe medical doctor Dr Peter Magombeyi after he sent a message to say he had been abducted in that country by unknown persons – apparently for demanding a “living wage”.

An AFP report earlier on Sunday quoted the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) as saying Magombeyi had not been heard from since he sent a WhatsApp message on Saturday night saying he had been “kidnapped by three men”.

Zimbabwe doctors, who earn a miserly equivalent of about R3 000 are on strike to press for better wages, equipment and medicines in state hospitals.

The ZHDA has reportedly accused state security forces of abducting the doctor because of his role in organising work stoppages.

This week some doctors said the death of deposed Robert Mugabe, 95, in a Singapore hospital on 6 September was an indication of how bad health services in Zimbabwe

“Dr Magombeyi’s crime is only to ask for a living wage for his profession. This is a reflection of the troubles born out of refusal to implement Political Reforms.”

The Zimbabwe government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has not publicly commented on the doctor’s disappearance

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24 Hours Across Africa

Turkey: Group calls for immediate action against Femicide

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Emine Dirican, a beautician from Istanbul, tried to be a good wife. But her husband hated that she worked, that she socialized, even that she wanted to leave the house sometimes without him.

She tried to reason with him. He lashed out.

“One time, he tied me — my hands, my legs from the back, like you do to animals,” recalls Dirican, shuddering. “He beat me with a belt and said, ‘You’re going to listen to me, you’re going to obey whatever I say to you.’ “

She left him and moved in with her parents. In January, he showed up, full of remorse and insisting he had changed. She let him in.

In her mother’s kitchen, he grabbed her by the hair, threw her to the floor and pulled out a gun.

“He shot me,” she says. “Then he went back to my mom and he pulled the trigger again, but the gun was stuck. So he hit her head with the back of the gun.”

Her father, who was in another room in the house, heard the gunshots and ran over. Dirican almost bled to death after a bullet ripped through a main artery in one of her legs.

“I was telling my father, ‘Daddy, please, I don’t want to die.’ “

Femicide — killing women because of their gender — is a longstanding issue in Turkey. Nearly 300 women have been killed so far this year, according to the Istanbul-based advocacy group We Will Stop Femicide, which has been tracking gender-related deaths since Turkish authorities stopped doing so in 2009.

Source Npr news

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