The amount of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream is partly regulated by the brain, a study in mice suggests.
It counters assumptions that levels are solely controlled by what we eat and by cholesterol production in the liver. The US study in Nature Neuroscience found that a hunger hormone in the brain acts as the "remote control" for cholesterol travelling round the body. Too much cholesterol causes hardened fatty arteries, raising the risk of a heart attack.
The research carried out by a US team at the University of Cincinnati found that increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin in mice caused the animals to develop higher levels of blood-circulating cholesterol.