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Synthetic hormone facilitates weight loss

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HEALTH WATCH -- A study released today found that an appetite hormone may help people lose weight. Researchers may have found a new way to use the body's natural hormones to help people battle the bulge. Pramlintide is approved to treat diabetes under the name Symlin. It is the synthetic form of a hormone produced by cells in the pancreas, which also makes insulin. In the new study 88 obese people were injected with the hormone 15 minutes before each meal. The subjects who received Symlin began eating fewer calories per day, 680 fewer than participants who were given a placebo. During one part of the study, the participants had the chance to eat lots of fatty foods, such as deep-dish pizza and ice cream, and those taking Symlin consumed substantially less junk food. After six weeks the Symlin group lost an average of 4.5 pounds while the placebo group didn't lose any weight at all. Symlin-treated patients also reported feeling full after meals despite eating less. Most traditional diet pills work by blocking chemicals in the brain. However, the researchers say that hormone-based treatments like Symlin may be an easier way to lose weight because they work with the body's natural pathways.

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