Navigation Links
Pleasure response from chocolate: You can see it in the eyes
Date:6/24/2013

PHILADELPHIA (June 24, 2013) The brain's pleasure response to tasting food can be measured through the eyes using a common, low-cost ophthalmological tool, according to a study just published in the journal Obesity. If validated, this method could be useful for research and clinical applications in food addiction and obesity prevention.

Dr. Jennifer Nasser, an associate professor in the department of Nutrition Sciences in Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions, led the study testing the use of electroretinography (ERG) to indicate increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine in the retina.

Dopamine is associated with a variety of pleasure-related effects in the brain, including the expectation of reward. In the eye's retina, dopamine is released when the optical nerve activates in response to light exposure.

Nasser and her colleagues found that electrical signals in the retina spiked high in response to a flash of light when a food stimulus (a small piece of chocolate brownie) was placed in participants' mouths. The increase was as great as that seen when participants had received the stimulant drug methylphenidate to induce a strong dopamine response. These responses in the presence of food and drug stimuli were each significantly greater than the response to light when participants ingested a control substance, water.

"What makes this so exciting is that the eye's dopamine system was considered separate from the rest of the brain's dopamine system," Nasser said. "So most people and indeed many retinography experts told me this would say that tasting a food that stimulates the brain's dopamine system wouldn't have an effect on the eye's dopamine system."

This study was a small-scale demonstration of the concept, with only nine participants. Most participants were overweight but none had eating disorders. All fasted for four hours before testing with the food stimulus.

If this technique is validated through additional and larger studies, Nasser said she and other researchers can use ERG for studies of food addiction and food science.

"My research takes a pharmacology approach to the brain's response to food," Nasser said. "Food is both a nutrient delivery system and a pleasure delivery system, and a 'side effect' is excess calories. I want to maximize the pleasure and nutritional value of food but minimize the side effects. We need more user-friendly tools to do that."

The low cost and ease of performing electroretinography make it an appealing method, according to Nasser. The Medicare reimbursement cost for clinical use of ERG is about $150 per session, and each session generates 200 scans in just two minutes. Procedures to measure dopamine responses directly from the brain are more expensive and invasive. For example, PET scanning costs about $2,000 per session and takes more than an hour to generate a scan.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rachel Ewing
raewing@drexel.edu
215-895-2614
Drexel University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: Exercise can lead to female orgasm, sexual pleasure
2. UCI-led study uncovers how Salmonella avoids the bodys immune response
3. BUSM researchers identify key regulator of inflammatory response
4. Marine scientists urge government to reassess oil spill response
5. Immune-response genes affecting breast tumor eradication
6. Experiments may understate plant responses to climate
7. European mountain plant population shows delayed response to climate change
8. Discovery of mechanisms predicting response to new treatments in colon cancer
9. London researchers discover novel mechanism involved in key immune response
10. Key part of plants rapid response system revealed
11. How bacteria change movement direction in response to oxygen: Molecular interactions unravelled
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a ... authentication solutions, today announced that it has been ... Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation ... "Innovation has been a driving force ... program will allow us to innovate and develop ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 Forecasts ... ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government ... Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, ... Other) Are you looking for a definitive ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Franz ... Lisp (CL) development tools, and market leader for Semantic Graph Database ... now available within the most effective system for developing and deploying applications to ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Dr. Robert G. ... , proudly announced today that acclaimed physiatrist Matthew Terzella, MD, has joined the ... 2017. , Dr. Terzella completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... ... April 24, 2017 , ... It is ... cellular milieu; however, the broad application of this cellular target engagement concept to ... quantitative readouts. Cell-based thermal stabilization assays are valuable methods for particular applications, but ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Having worked on the design of ... pleased to introduce it to top lab design architects from around the country at ... VP of Industrial Design and Engineering Greg Casey will be at the show, where ...
Breaking Biology Technology: