We tend to eat more in winter rather than in summer. Neuroscientists at Scripps Research, USA, have explained why. They have identified brain circuits that make people want to eat more when they are exposed to cold temperatures. We automatically burn more energy to maintain normal body temperature when exposed to cold. This cold-activated increase in energy expenditure triggers an increase in appetite and feeding, although the specific mechanism controlling this had been unknown. In the new study, reported in the journal ‘Nature’, the researchers identified a cluster of neurons that work as a ‘switch’ for this cold-related, food-seeking behaviour. The discovery could lead to potential therapeutics for metabolic health and weight loss.