Navigation Links
Your brain on Krispy Kremes

CHICAGO--What makes you suddenly dart into the bakery when you spy chocolate- frosted donuts in the window, though you certainly hadn't planned on indulging? As you lick the frosting off your fingers, don't blame a lack of self-control.

New research from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine reveals how hunger works in the brain and the way neurons pull your strings to lunge for the sweet fried dough.

Krispy Kremes, in perhaps their first starring role in neurological research, helped lead to the discovery.

In the study, subjects were tested twice -- once after gorging on up to eight Krispy Kreme donuts until they couldn't eat anymore, and on another day after fasting for eight hours.

In both sessions, people were shown pictures of donuts and screwdrivers, while researchers examined their brains in fMRI's.

When the subjects saw pictures of donuts after the eating binge, their brains didn't register much interest. But after the fast, two areas of the brain leaped into action upon seeing the donuts. First, the limbic brain -- an ancestral part of the brain present in all animals from snakes to frogs to humans -- lit up like fireworks.

"That part of the brain is able to detect what is motivationally significant. It says, not only am I hungry, but here is food," said senior author Marsel Mesulam, M.D., the Ruth and Evelyn Dunbar Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School and a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Next, the brain's spatial attention network shifted the hungry subject's focus toward the new object of desire -- in this case the Krispy Kremes.

"If we didn't have this part of the brain, every time you passed by a bakery you would have no control over your eating," explained Mesulam, who also is director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at the Feinberg School. "If your nerve cells fired every time you smelled something edible, then you'd eat all the time, not just when you're hungry."

"There's a very complex system in the brain that helps to direct our attention to items in our environment that are relevant to our needs, for example, food when we are hungry but not when we are full," said Aprajita Mohanty, lead author of the paper and a post-doctoral fellow at the Feinberg School. The study was published on-line last week in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

Mesulam noted the research demonstrates how our brain decides what to pay attention to in a world full of stimuli -- not just sweets. "If you are in a forest and you hear rustling, the context urges you to pay full attention since this could be a sign of danger," he said. "If you are in your office, the context makes the identical sound less relevant. A major job of the brain is to match response to context."

The study helped Mesulam understand his own behavior. "Now I know why I can't resist walking into the bakery some days when I smell fresh scones," he said.


Contact: Marla Paul
Northwestern University

Related medicine news :

1. Deficit in Brain Function Puts Teens at Risk of Drug Abuse
2. Brain Scans Let Computer Read Visual Activity
3. Neural progenitor cells as reservoirs for HIV in the brain
4. Maternal love: How a mothers brain responds to her infant
5. Breast cancer subtypes linked to survival from secondary brain tumors
6. This is your brain on jazz: researchers use MRI to study spontaneity, creativity
7. First look: Princeton researchers peek into deepest recesses of human brain
8. In jazz improv, large portion of brains prefrontal region takes 5 to let creativity flow
9. Brain stress system presents possible treatment
10. Youngest patient worldwide to have auditory implant in the brain stem
11. Fluoride May Damage the Brain, New Report Says
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville has implanted ... only hospital in the region providing what is known as the world’s smallest ... were revealed recently at a medical conference and published in The New England ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Califia Farms , one of the ... bottle has won top honors in Beverage World Magazine’s Global Packaging Design Awards, taking ... it has been selected as a 2015 U.S.A. Taste Champion in the American Masters ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... ... Dr. Paul Vitenas, one of the top cosmetic surgeons in Texas ... Best Single Physician Practice in the nation. Dr. Vitenas and his practice were named ... industry publication. , Dr. Vitenas said he was very honored to receive such ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... ... however, there are professionals who believe that with innovative technologies and under the ... the patient to get the benefit of a dual-approach to his or her ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Growth in medical payments per workers’ compensation claim ... of hospital and nonhospital care, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation ... Edition , found medical payments per claim with more than seven days of lost ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015 --> --> ... Market by Type of Drug (Monoclonal Antibodies, Interferon-Alpha, Interleukins, Vaccines, ... Pipeline Analysis - Global Forecast to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 73,529.2 Million by 2020 from USD 40,281.6 Million in 2015, ... Browse 37 market data T ...
(Date:12/1/2015)...  Athletic apparel company Tommie Copper , ... $1.35 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges ... clothing would relieve severe and chronic pain and ... Tommie Copper,s proposed settlement with ... founder and chairman Thomas Kallish to ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 Pharma Tech ... Top 10 Clinical Data Management Solution Providers - ... a distinguished panel comprising CEOs, CIOs, VCs, analysts, and ... the illustrious list of top 10 clinical data management ... article on pages 14 and 36 respectively). ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: