The appetite-regulating orexin hormone appears to activate brown fats to burn calories, according to a study in Cell Metabolism. Experts studied mice engineered to lack orexin and found that their fat cells did not develop properly during the embryonic stage, which eventually resulted in obesity. "We're now taking the next steps in determining how orexin -- or a chemical that has the same effect -- might be used in humans to therapeutically prevent or treat obesity," said study lead author Dr. Devanjan Sikder.

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