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Sleepiness may impair the brain's inhibitory control when viewing high-calorie foods
Date:6/13/2011

DARIEN, Ill. Daytime sleepiness may affect inhibitory control in the brain when viewing tantalizing, high-calorie foods, suggests a research abstract that will be presented Monday, June 13, in Minneapolis, Minn., at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

Results show that greater daytime sleepiness was associated with decreased activation in the prefrontal cortex during visual presentations of enticing, high-calorie food images. The prefrontal cortex is a brain region that plays an important role in inhibitory processing.

"Self-reported daytime sleepiness among healthy, normally rested individuals correlated with reduced responsiveness of inhibitory brain regions when confronted with images of highly appetizing foods," said principal investigator William Killgore, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. "It suggests that even normal fluctuations in sleepiness may be capable of altering brain responses that are important for regulating dietary intake, potentially affecting the types of choices that individuals make when selecting whether and what to eat."

The research team of Killgore, lead author Melissa Weiner, and Zachary Schwab studied 12 healthy men and women between the ages of 19 and 45 years. The participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while viewing pictures of high-calorie foods, low-calorie foods, and control images of plants and rocks. Subjective, self-reported daytime sleepiness was measured with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which evaluates how likely an individual is to doze off or fall asleep during certain situations such as while sitting and reading or watching TV.

According to the authors, prior evidence suggests that healthy adults activate inhibitory regions of the prefrontal cortex in response to high-calorie food images. However, insufficient sleep is
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Contact: Emilee McStay
emcstay@aasmnet.org
630-737-9700
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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