A medical study has revealed that a neural circuit in the brain is directly involved in the control of cholesterol metabolism by the liver.
Published in Nature Neuroscience, the report found that inhibiting the brain's melanocortin system by pharmacological, genetic or endocrine mechanisms, increased circulating high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
It did this by reducing its uptake by the liver, independent of food intake of body weight.
Dr Geoff Clayton, spokesperson, for the Takeheart Health Check, commented: "[It is] not surprising that the brain influences cholesterol metabolism."
However, he added that although the knowledge will add to doctors' understanding of heart disease, "it may perhaps lead to something positive but for the present it is best to stick to tried and tested methods".
The research follows a recent study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Harvard researchers found that eating processed meats lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
However, no increase in the risks was found in individuals eating unprocessed red meats.