New York City That roll of fat on your belly may be there because of everyday stresses, and researchers think they may know a way to get rid of it.
Studies in mice and monkeys show that repeated stress - and a high-fat, high-sugar diet - stimulate release of an appetite hormone called neuropeptide Y, which causes fat to build up in the abdomen, researchers from Georgetown University reported Sunday.
By manipulating levels of that hormone, they could make fat melt from areas where it was not desired and accumulate at sites where it is needed, they said in the journal Nature Medicine.
"These are eye-opening findings because they speak to how the effects of neuropeptide Y in the periphery have been underappreciated," said Arshad Khan, a University of Southern California neuroscientist who was not involved in the research. "There are different kinds of fat, and where it is located matters."
Plastic surgeons are particularly looking forward to further results from the study, said Dr. Stephen Baker of Georgetown University Hospital, himself a plastic surgeon and a co-author of the report. The study could lead to safe and effective replacements for unapproved chemicals, such as LipoDissolve.