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Our brains on food: From anorexia to obesity and everything in between
Date:4/3/2012

n regions.

"Our findings provide evidence of an overall continuum relating food intake behavior and weight outcomes to food reward circuitry activity," Holsen says. Her work also has implications, she says, for everyday eating decisions in healthy individuals. "Even in individuals who do not have eating disorders, there are areas of the brain that assist in evaluating the reward value of different foods, which in turn plays a role in the decisions we make about which foods to eat."

Kyle Simmons of the Laureate Institute studies the neural mechanisms that govern such everyday eating decisions. His work with fMRI scans has found that as soon as people see food, their brains automatically gather information about how they think it will taste and how that will make them feel. The brain scans showed an apparent overlap in the region on the insula that responds to seeing food pictures and the region of the insula that processes taste, the "primary gustatory cortex."

Simmons is currently expanding this work to better understand the differences in taste preferences between lean, healthy individuals and obese ones. "We simply don't know yet if differences exist between lean and obese participants," he says. "And knowing which brain regions underlie inferences about food taste and reward is critical if we are going to develop efficacious interventions for obesity and certain eating disorders, both of which are associated with enormous personal and public health costs."

The symposium "The Brain on Food: Investigations of motivation, dopamine and eating behaviors" takes place on April 3, 2012, at the 19th annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS). More than 1400 scientists are attending the meeting in Chicago, IL, from March 31 to April 3, 2012. Follow CNS 2012 on Twitter (@CogNeuroNews) and read our blog c
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Contact: Lisa M.P. Munoz
cns.publicaffairs@gmail.com
703-951-7331
Cognitive Neuroscience Society
Source:Eurekalert

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