Research on young mice into leptin has suggested that the hormone can change their brains’ circuitry, creating permanent controls on their appetite, henceforth controlling obesity.

According to a study published in the journal Science, researchers from the USA’s Oregon Primate Research Center initially thought leptin – like other hormones – attached itself to brain cells and altered brain activity directly.

Although it is known that leptin can depress appetites, the scientists were surprised to learn that it can actually permanently adapt brain connections, and also that surges of the hormone appear in young mice, as surges of sexual hormones appear during puberty, opening the way for more human obesity studies.