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Anti-obesity Drugs May Affect Neural Development in Children

Medical trials on mice show that new anti-obesity drugs may suppress neural development in children. The results of a recent research conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology were published in journal Neuron on May 8, 2008. The researchers conclude that drugs such as Acomplia (Rimonabant) that function by blocking cannabinoid receptors of the brain responsible for appetite also affect adaptive rewiring of the brain. Mark Bear, director of the Picower Institute and Professor of Neuroscience, suggests that such drugs should be given to children with caution.

The researchers used the visual cortex of the mouse as a model to study the cortical plasticity of brain. This process is primarily related to neural development in children and young animals. Visual cortex is the part of brain that processes visual information coming from the eyes. By closing one eye of the mouse and applying an AM 251 drug to block cannabinoid receptors the researchers discovered its effect on neural development unrevealed by previous studies. These findings have significant implications on the therapeutic use of cannabinoid receptor blockers in human patients. The researchers concluded that "Our finding of a profound disruption of cortical plasticity in juvenile mice treated with AM 251 suggests caution is advised in the use of such compounds in children."

16.05.2008. 10:09

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