2nd International Conference on Hyperphagia to be held at Pennington Biomedical Research Center October 17-20, 2012

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Released: Monday, April 30, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA  - The Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (USA) are pleased to announce the 2nd International Conference on Hyperphagia to be held October 17-20, 2012, in Baton Rouge, LA.  The Pennington Biomedical Research Center, a campus of the Louisiana State University System and a center of research excellence in nutrition and preventive medicine, will host the proceedings.

The conference will feature top international scientists in the field of appetite and obesity research, gathering to discuss 1) the mechanisms and causes of Hyperphagia; 2) the treatment options for patients with genetic or hypothalamic obesity; 3) and will also seek to identify future research agendas for a solution to genetic-linked obesity.

Latest information on the various aspects of appetite control will be presented, including:

  • Intracellular nutrient control of hunger
  • Common and novel genetic causes of Hyperphagia
  • Animal and cell models of Hyperphagia
  • Addictive behavior and Hyperphagia
  • Unique investigative avenues into Hyperphagia 

The conference will also feature panel discussions of the pros and cons of certain treatment avenues for Hyperphagia.  Finally, the scientists will address certain "Challenge Questions" and then develop recommendations for the research agenda.

According to Janalee Heinemann, M.S.W., Director of Research and Medical Affairs for PWSA (USA), "With PWS being the most commonly known cause of life-threatening obesity, we are excited about the opportunity to work with Pennington on the perplexing problems of runaway hunger in PWS and bring solutions to people affected by PWS and the general population".

"The Pennington Biomedical Research Center believes that real progress can be made in addressing appetite control and obesity by this cooperative effort to bring these distinguished scientists together for two days to collaborate on furthering the understanding of the causes of hunger and potential avenues for treatment", says Steve Heymsfield, M.D., Executive Director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. 

Hunger and Obesity

"Obesity is a major contributor to serious health conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, many cancers and numerous other disease and conditions.  As rates of obesity have soared in the past three decades, it is clear that increasing the number of people who can achieve and maintain a healthy weight is a critical public health goal.  Reducing the prevalence of obesity and its associated medical conditions will require broad based efforts - by government, the private and non-profit sectors, businesses, community organizations, healthcare professionals, schools, families and individuals.  The foundation of such efforts is research to illuminate the causes and consequences of obesity, to develop and evaluate new prevention and treatment strategies to see what works, and to determine how to implement and expand promising approaches to reach those who could most benefit."  - Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research

Prader-Willi Syndrome
Prader-Willi syndrome is the most commonly known life-threatening cause of obesity.  This complex genetic disorder occurs, typically within a small region of chromosome material vital to the regulation of appetite and metabolic factors, cognitive function and behavioral patterns.  For more than 30,000 people in the U.S. who suffer from PWS, a chronic insatiable feeling of hunger and extraordinarily low metabolism plague their daily lives.  These factors lead to excessive eating and life-threatening obesity.  Only with constant care and supervision from infancy through adult life can a person with PWS avoid a lifetime of chronic health problems, social crises and premature death.


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.