Weight-loss drug stunts mice brains

From Times Staff and Wire Report

A drug from a new class of weight-loss treatments disrupted wiring needed for brain development in young mice, U.S. researchers said Wednesday in the journal Neuron, raising concerns about using such medications in children.

Researchers at MIT studied the effects of a laboratory analog of the weight-loss drug rimonabant, which suppresses appetite by blocking cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

The animals' brains were unable to adapt and rewire themselves through learning experiences after receiving the drug. Rimonabant has been approved for use in adults in Europe but not in the U.S.

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