Navigation Links
Targeting the brain to treat obesity
Date:7/23/2014

Unlocking the secrets to better treating the pernicious disorders of obesity and dementia reside in the brain, according to a paper from American University's Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. In the paper, researchers make the case for treating obesity with therapies aimed at areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Furthermore, treatments that focus on the hippocampus could play a role in reducing certain dementias.

"In the struggle to treat these diseases, therapies and preventive measures often fall short. This is a new way for providers who treat people with weight problems and for researchers who study dementias to think about obesity and cognitive decline," said Prof. Terry Davidson, center director and lead study author.

In the paper, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, Davidson and colleague Ashley A. Martin review research findings linking obesity with cognitive decline, including the center's findings about the "vicious cycle" model, which explains how weight-challenged individuals who suffer from particular kinds of cognitive impairment are more susceptible to overeating.

Obesity, Memory Deficits and Lasting Effects

It is widely accepted that overconsumption of dietary fats, sugar and sweeteners can cause obesity. These types of dietary factors are also linked to cognitive dysfunction. Foods that are risk factors for cognitive impairment (i.e., foods high in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates that make up the modern Western diet) are so widespread and readily available in today's food environment, their consumption is all but encouraged, Davidson said.

Across age groups, evidence reveals links between excess food intake, body weight and cognitive dysfunction. Childhood obesity and consumption of the Western diet can have lasting effects, as seen through the normal aging process, cognitive deficits and brain pathologies. Several analyses of cases of mild cognitive impairment progressing to full-blown cases of Alzheimer's disease show that the first signs of brain disease can occur at least 50 years prior to the emergence of serious cognitive dysfunction. These signs originate in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memory, learning, decision making, behavior control and other cognitive functions come into play.

Still, most research on the role of the brain in obesity focuses on areas thought to be involved with hunger motivation (e.g., hypothalamus), taste (e.g., brain stem), reinforcement (e.g., striatum) and reward (e.g., nucleus accumbens) or with hormonal or metabolic disorders. This research has not yet been successful in generating therapies that are effective in treating or preventing obesity, Davidson says.

Vicious Cycle

Experiments in rats by Davidson and colleagues show that overconsumption of the Western diet can damage or change the blood-brain barrier, the tight network of blood vessels protecting the brain and substrates for cognition. Certain kinds of dementias are known to arise from the breakdown in these brain substrates.

"Breakdown in the blood-brain barrier is more rationale for treating obesity as a learning and memory disorder," Davidson said. "Treating obesity successfully may also reduce the incidence of dementias, because the deterioration in the brain is often produced by the same diets that promote obesity."

The "vicious cycle" model AU researchers put forth says eating a Western diet high in saturated fats, sugar and simple carbohydrates produces pathologies in brain structures and circuits, ultimately changing brain pathways and disrupting cognitive abilities.

It works like this: People become less able to resist temptation when they encounter environmental cues (e.g., food itself or the sight of McDonald's Golden Arches) that remind them of the pleasures of consumption. They then eat more of the same type of foods that produce the pathological changes in the brain, leading to progressive deterioration in those areas and impairments in cognitive processes important for providing control over one's thoughts and behaviors. These cognitive impairments can weaken a person's ability to resist thinking about food, making them more easily distracted by food cues in the environment and more susceptible to overeating and weight gain.

"People have known at least since the time of Hippocrates that one key to a healthy life is to eat in moderation. Yet many of us are unable to follow that good advice," Davidson said. "Our work suggests that new therapeutic interventions that target brain regions involved with learning and memory may lead to success in controlling both the urge to eat, as well as the undesirable consequences produced by overeating."


'/>"/>

Contact: Rebecca Basu
basu@american.edu
202-885-5978
American University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Advice Media to Attend the International Association of Comprehensive Aesthetics Conference (IACA) Targeting the Dental Profession
2. New tumor-targeting agent images and treats wide variety of cancers
3. RELAX-AHF and PROTECT studies find targeting WHF may reduce readmissions and save lives
4. New treatment targeting versatile protein may protect brain cells in Parkinsons disease
5. New UK study shows potential for targeting aggressive breast cancers
6. Targeting tumors: Ion beam accelerators take aim at cancer
7. Cedars-Sinai clinical trial studies vaccine targeting cancer stem cells in brain cancers
8. Research shows molecular, protein targeting therapies may be best treatment for certain lung cancer
9. Chesapeake Drug Detox Launches Program Targeting Substance Abuse Problems Among Adolescents, Adults
10. Home Care Assistance of Vancouver Unveils New and Informative Website Targeting Older Adults is Shaking up the Online Health and Wellness Scene
11. New and Informative Website Targeting Older Adults is Shaking up the Online Health and Wellness Scene
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 08, 2016 , ... The Florida Hospital Tampa Wound Healing ... Society (UHMS), the leading authority in hyperbaric medicine. This accreditation identifies the Institute ... and facilities have earned this distinction. This is the second time the Florida ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... JENNERSVILLE, Pa. (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 ... ... Penn Medicine Southern Chester County, a Property owned by an affiliate of Seavest, ... 72,000 square foot Penn Medicine Southern Chester County ambulatory care center (ACC) was ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... David J. Dykeman ... law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, will speak at DeviceTalks West, Dec. 12, 2016, at ... DeviceTalks series, and attorneys from the firm’s global Life Sciences & Medical Technology Group ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products, today announced that it ... up in 2006 as a non-profit organization to unite pharmaceutical and healthcare companies ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... City, Ga (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 ... ... moving as soon after surgery as possible. With this in mind, SIGVARIS has ... thrombosis (DVT or blood clot) during bed rest and provide the benefits of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... aTyr Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: LIFE ), a biotherapeutics company ... severe, rare diseases, today announced that senior management will participate in ... Conference at the InterContinental Barclay Hotel in New York ... ET. About aTyr Pharma ... aTyr Pharma is engaged in the ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... , Dec. 9, 2016  Forge Therapeutics, Inc. ... (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) to ... for the treatment of bacterial infections including those ... recognized as an attractive antibacterial target for more ... of suitable chemical starting points has hampered its ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... -- The global biosurgery market is expected to grow at ... 2016 to 2021. The market is poised to reach ... in 2016. The market is primarily driven by rising ... and spinal problems, increasing clearance of biosurgery products by ... management. In this report, the biosurgery market ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: