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New studies have found that higher levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating stomach-derived hormone, are expected to prefer smaller immediate monetary rewards over larger delayed monetary rewards.

The research results will be presented at ENDO 2021, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

The study provides humans with new evidence that the so-called “hunger hormone” ghrelin influences financial decisions, says collaborator Franziska, an assistant professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.・ Dr. Presou said. She said recent findings in rodents suggest that ghrelin may be involved in impulsive choices and behaviors.

“Our results show that ghrelin can play a broader role in human reward-related behaviors and decisions, such as financial choices, than previously accepted,” Plessow said. Stated.

“We hope this will stimulate future research into its role in food-independent human perception and behavior.”

Ghrelin may inform the brain that it needs to eat and regulate brain pathways that control reward processing. Ghrelin levels fluctuate throughout the day, depending on food intake and individual metabolism.

The study included 84 female participants aged 10 to 22 years. Fifty were underweight eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and 34 were healthy control participants. Plessow’s research team tested blood levels of total ghrelin before and after a standardized diet, which is the same for all pre-fasted participants. After the meal, participants underwent a test of fictitious financial decisions called a delayed discount task. They were asked to make a series of choices to show that they prefer smaller immediate monetary rewards or larger delays, such as $ 20 today or $ 80 in 14 days.

Researchers report that healthy girls and young women with high ghrelin levels are more likely to choose immediate but monetary rewards than waiting for large sums of money. This preference points to a more impulsive choice, Plessow said.

No association between ghrelin levels and financial choice was found in age-matched participants with underweight eating disorders. People with this eating disorder are known to have ghrelin tolerance, and Plessow suggests that their findings may be another indicator of the disruption between ghrelin signaling and behavior in this population. Told.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and awarded the Charles A. King Trust Research Fellowship Award to Presso. Naila Shiraliyeva, MD, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, will present her research results at a conference.

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