Navigation Links
Snacking and BMI linked to double effect of brain activity and self-control
Date:7/23/2012

Snack consumption and BMI are linked to both brain activity and self-control, new research has found.

The research, carried out by academics from the Universities of Exeter, Cardiff, Bristol, and Bangor, discovered that an individual's brain 'reward centre' response to pictures of food predicted how much they subsequently ate. This had a greater effect on the amount they ate than their conscious feelings of hunger or how much they wanted the food,

A strong brain response was also associated with increased weight (BMI), but only in individuals reporting low levels of self-control on a questionnaire. For those reporting high levels of self-control a stronger brain response to food was actually related to a lower BMI.

This study, which is now published in the journal NeuroImage, adds to mounting evidence that overeating and increased weight are linked, in part, to a region of the brain associated with motivation and reward, called the nucleus accumbens. Responses in this brain region have been shown to predict weight gain in healthy weight and obese individuals, but only now have academics discovered that this is independent of conscious feelings of hunger, and that self-control also plays a key role.

Following these results, academics at the University of Exeter and Cardiff have begun testing 'brain training' techniques designed to reduce the influence of food cues on individuals who report low levels of self-control. Similar tests are being used to assist those with gambling or alcohol addiction.1

Dr Natalia Lawrence of Psychology at the University of Exeter, lead researcher in both the original research and the new studies, said: "Our research suggests why some individuals are more likely to overeat and put on weight than others when confronted with frequent images of snacks and treats. Food images, such as those used in advertising, cause direct increases in activity in brain 'reward areas' in some individuals but not in others. If those sensitive individuals also struggle with self-control, which may be partly innate, they are more likely to be overweight. We are now developing computer programs that we hope will counteract the effects of this high sensitivity to food cues by training the brain to respond less positively to these cues."

Twenty-five young, healthy females with BMIs ranging from 17-30 were involved in the study. Female participants were chosen because research shows females typically exhibit stronger responses to food-related cues. The hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle affect this reaction, so all participants were taking the monophasic combined oral contraceptive pill. Participants had not eaten for at least six hours to ensure they were hungry at the time of the scan and were given a bowl containing 150 g (four and a half packets) of crisps to eat at the end of the study; they were informed that crisp intake had been measured afterwards.

Researchers used MRI scanning to detect the participants' brain activity while they were shown images of household objects, and food that varied in desirability and calorific content. After scanning, participants rated the food images for desirability and rated their levels of hunger and food craving. Results showed that participants' brain responses to food (relative to objects) in the nucleus accumbens predicted how many crisps they ate after the scan. However, participants' own ratings of hunger and how much they liked and wanted the foods, including crisps, were unrelated to their crisp intake.

Members of the public seeking more information about future brain training studies, please email snackbuster@gmail.com.

This study was funded by the Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

What this study shows:

  • Brain responses to food images vary considerably between individuals.
  • Brain responses to food images but not conscious feelings of hunger or desire to eat predict subsequent crisp consumption.
  • Individuals' reported levels of self-control influence whether this brain response is associated with a higher or lower BMI.

What this study does NOT show:

  • Brain responses to food cues cause overeating.
  • The associations reported here are true in everyone only healthy young women were included.
  • Whether our brain response and levels of self-control are learned or innate.


'/>"/>
Contact: Sarah Hoyle
s.hoyle@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Antibiotics Linked to Retinal Detachment Risk
2. Pesticides May Be Linked to Slightly Smaller Babies, Shorter Pregnancies
3. Pharmacy Robots Linked to Bacterial Contamination of Drugs
4. 2 genetic deletions in human genome linked to the development of aggressive prostate cancer
5. Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors
6. In Mice, Drug Reverses Symptoms of Condition Linked to Autism
7. Huntingtons Disease Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk in Study
8. Study finds significant skull differences between closely linked groups
9. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
10. Swallowing exercises linked with short-term improvement among patients with head and neck cancer
11. Anxiety Linked to Smarts in Brain Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... that offers insurance and financial preparation services, is providing an update on a ... organization. , Rock City Rescue is a locally recognized nonprofit that provides shelter ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... While it’s often important to ... Fortunately, an inventor from Austin, Texas, has identified a solution. , She developed a ... or restricted lighting. As such, it eliminates the need to turn on a light ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The International Association of ... of excellence for the field of eating disorders, announces the opening of early ... in Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. , The ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... ‘17, and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ’17, along with clinical associate professor Janice ... of cardiovascular diseases during the 15th Annual Women’s Health Conference. The SIU ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... CT (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... long-term care services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a ... Shelton Fire Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/28/2017)... Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC), will host ... webcast on Friday, November 3, 2017, beginning at 7:00 ... approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) / 9:30 a.m. (EDT). ... performance and guidance for 2018, Hill-Rom executives will also ... performance, and long-range financial outlook through 2020. ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... for their devotion to personalized service, SMP Pharmacy Solutions announces ... the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 Fastest-Growing Companies, and listed ... national specialty pharmacy has found its niche.  To that end, ... honored by SFBJ as the 2017 Power Leader in Health ... his award in October, Bardisa said of the three achievements, ...
(Date:9/25/2017)...   Montrium , an industry leader in ... IQPC Trial Master Files & Inspection Readiness Conference ... Clinical Services has selected eTMF Connect ... EastHORN, a leading European contract research organization (CRO), ... to enable greater collaboration with sponsors, improve compliance ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: