University researchers have discovered a compound that could potentially fight the widespread problem of obesity in the United States, the University has announced.

The “magical compound,” as Emory Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Science Keqiang Ye described it, is called 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone.

This compound imitates a specific protein called a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

In humans, these BDNF hormones curb hunger pangs by “notifying” the body to stop eating.

The research team discovered that Ye’s compound acted similarly to the BDNF hormone during a drug screening.

“It is amazing,” said Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Chi Bun Chan, who participated in the study. “One day I believe this will be an amazing drug to treat obesity.”

The team of researchers in Emory’s pathology department observed viable results in two groups of mice: one that consumed high-fat diets as well as the “magic compound,” and another that went without the compound.

Ye began seeing results after he had fed the mice differentiated diets for a few months, he said.

Although the male mice used in the experiment have not yet responded to the compound diet, the female mice have seen dramatic results.

The females that consumed the compound were 30 to 40 percent lighter than the mice in the control group were by the end of the experiment.

“As you can tell, they are much smaller compared to those girl mice,” Ye explained, holding up the compound-consuming mice to compare them to the mice with normal diets. “It took us a few years to pin down and finalize this story, and we’re really excited about these findings.”

According to Ye, the “magical compound” can be found in South American plants around the world, as well as in common vegetables like celery and parsley.

If the compound is released to the public in the near future, Ye said, it would most likely debut as a pill or in liquid form.

The team is currently preparing to publish the discovery as the findings are being confirmed in other laboratories around the world.

– By Minah So

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