Monday, March 11, 2013

Happiness Explained: Happiness May Lie in This Peptide?

An international team of scientists led by the University of California, Los Angeles has found that a hypothalamic neuropeptide hypocretin (also known as orexin)  greatly increases when humans are happy but decrease when they are sad

The finding, published online in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that boosting hypocretin could elevate both mood and alertness in humans, thus laying the foundation for possible future treatments of psychiatric disorders like depression.

"We show that hypocretin-1 levels are maximal during positive emotion, social interaction and anger, behaviours that induce cataplexy in human narcoleptics".

Orexin, also called hypocretin, is a neurotransmitter that regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite. The most common form of narcolepsy, in which the sufferer briefly loses muscle tone (cataplexy), is caused by a lack of orexin in the brain due to destruction of the cells that produce it.

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