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:11/15/2016)... , Nov. 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. ... therapeutics focused on the gut microbiome, today announced ... 25,000,000 shares of its common stock and warrants ... at a price to the public of $1.00 ... Synthetic Biologics from the offering, excluding the proceeds, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical Genetics ... Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade shows ... at the Bellagio in Las Vegas . ... percentage of growth in each of the following categories: net ... and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... June 16, 2016 The ... expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, ... Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in ... expected to drive the market growth. ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... 6, 2016 According to a new market ... (Polymer, Glass, Silicon), Application (Genomics, Proteomics, Capillary Electrophoresis, POC, Clinical, Environmental, ... global market is projected to reach USD 8.78 Billion by 2021 ... during the forecast period (2016 to 2021). ... ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016  SRI International has ... million from the National Institutes of Health,s National ... Division of AIDS (NIAID-DAIDS) to support the manufacturing ... pre-exposure (PreP) agents. Under the seven-year contract, SRI ... development services for candidate HIV-prevention products that emerge ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... 2016 , ... RoviSys, a leading independent provider of comprehensive ... the opening of their new office building today. Located at 480 Green Oaks ... 200 employees focused on providing sales, engineering, and support services to customers in ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... Dec 5, 2016 Research and Markets ... - Technologies, Markets and Companies" to their offering. ... , , ... discovery using various -omics technologies such as proteomics and metabolomics. Molecular ... tests are also based on biomarker. Currently the most ...
Breaking Biology Technology: