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'Social' Brain Circuits Inhibit Feeding Behavior In Mice, When Activated

Feeding behavior and social stimulation activate intermingled but distinct brain circuits, and activating one circuit can inhibit the other, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University. The researchers demonstrated in mice that direct stimulation of fewer than two dozen nerve cells, or neurons, linked to social interaction was enough to suppress the animals' drive to feed themselves — a finding with potential clinical significance for understanding and treating eating disorders such as anorexia.