Brain Responses to Food Logos in Obese and Healthy Weight Children

Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO. Electronic address: .
The Journal of pediatrics (Impact Factor: 3.79). 12/2012; 162(4). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.10.003
Source: PubMed


To evaluate brain activation in response to common food and nonfood logos in healthy weight and obese children.

Study design:
Ten healthy weight children (mean body mass index in the 50th percentile) and 10 obese children (mean body mass index in the 97.9th percentile) completed self-report measures of self-control. They then underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while viewing food and nonfood logos.

Compared with the healthy weight children, obese children showed significantly less brain activation to food logos in the bilateral middle/inferior prefrontal cortex, an area involved in cognitive control.

When shown food logos, obese children showed significantly less brain activation than the healthy weight children in regions associated with cognitive control. This provides initial neuroimaging evidence that obese children may be more vulnerable to the effects of food advertising.

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    • "The left post central gyrus is thought to be involved in systematic integration of somatic and visual information (Iwamura, 1998). Obese children and adolescents displayed greater activation viewing food logos and fast food commercials, respectively, when compared with normal weight children and adolescents (Bruce et al., 2012; Gearhardt et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a severe mental disorder characterized by food restriction and weight loss. This study aimed to test the model posed by Brooks et al. (2012), that women suffering from chronic AN show decreased food cue processing activity in brain regions associated with energy balance and food reward (bottom-up; BU) and increased activity in brain regions associated with cognitive control (top-down; TD) when compared to long term recovered AN (REC) and healthy controls (HC). Three groups of women, 15 AN (mean illness duration 7.8 ± 4.1 y), 14 REC (mean duration of recovery 4.7 ± 2.7 yr) and 15 HC viewed alternating blocks of food and non-food images preceded by a short instruction during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), after fasting overnight. Functional ROIs (fROIs) were defined in BU (e.g. striatum, hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus and cerebellum), TD (e.g. medial and lateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate), the insula and visual processing areas (VPA). Food-cue processing activation was extracted from all fROIs and compared between the groups. In addition, functional connectivity between the fROIs was examined by modular partitioning of the correlation matrix of all fROIs. We could not confirm the hypothesis that BU areas are activated to a lesser extent in AN upon visual processing of food images. Among the BU areas the caudate showed higher activation in both patient groups compared to HC. In accordance with Brooks et al.’s model, we did find evidence for increased TD control in AN and REC. The functional connectivity analysis yielded two clusters in HC and REC, but three clusters in AN. In HC fROIs across BU, TD and VPA areas clustered, in AN one cluster span across BU, TD and insula, one across BU, TD and VPA areas and one was confined to the VPA network. In REC BU, TD and VPA or VPA and insula clustered. In conclusion, despite weight recovery, neural processing of food cues is also altered in recovered AN patient
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 02/2015; 9:46. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00046 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "Consistent with this conceptualization, neuroimaging studies have shown the impulsive system (striatum) to be consistently more active during exposure to high-calorie foods when compared to low-calorie foods or control images [13, 16, 46–55]. This effect is greater for overweight versus normal weight participants [47, 53, 56, 57], and could potentially predict short-and long-term outcomes in weight-loss programs [58]. On the other hand, an increasing number of studies suggest that activity within the prefrontal system is also altered in response to food cues [59, 60]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The loss of self-control or inability to resist tempting/rewarding foods, and the development of less healthful eating habits may be explained by three key neural systems: (1) a hyper-functioning striatum system driven by external rewarding cues; (2) a hypo-functioning decision-making and impulse control system; and (3) an altered insula system involved in the translation of homeostatic and interoceptive signals into self-awareness and what may be subjectively experienced as a feeling. Methods The present study examined the activity within two of these neural systems when subjects were exposed to images of high-calorie versus low-calorie foods using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and related this activity to dietary intake, assessed by 24-hour recall. Thirty youth (mean BMI = 23.1 kg/m2, range = 19.1 - 33.7; age =19.7 years, range = 14 - 22) were scanned using fMRI while performing food-specific go/nogo tasks. Results Behaviorally, participants more readily pressed a response button when go trials consisted of high-calorie food cues (HGo task) and less readily pressed the response button when go trials consisted of low-calorie food cues (LGo task). This habitual response to high-calorie food cues was greater for individuals with higher BMI and individuals who reportedly consume more high-calorie foods. Response inhibition to the high-calorie food cues was most difficult for individuals with a higher BMI and individuals who reportedly consume more high-calorie foods. fMRI results confirmed our hypotheses that (1) the "habitual" system (right striatum) was more activated in response to high-calorie food cues during the go trials than low-calorie food go trials, and its activity correlated with participants’ BMI, as well as their consumption of high-calorie foods; (2) the prefrontal system was more active in nogo trials than go trials, and this activity was inversely correlated with BMI and high-calorie food consumption. Conclusions Using a cross-sectional design, our findings help increase understanding of the neural basis of one’s loss of ability to self-control when faced with tempting food cues. Though the design does not permit inferences regarding whether the inhibitory control deficits and hyper-responsivity of reward regions are individual vulnerability factors for overeating, or the results of habitual overeating.
    Nutrition Journal 09/2014; 13(1):92. DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-13-92 · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    • "Impulsivity has been associated with food intake among healthy-weight individuals (Lindroos et al., 1997; Hays et al., 2002; Guerrieri et al., 2007, 2008; Savage et al., 2009). While viewing advertising logos for food, healthy-weight children show enhanced recruitment of brain regions associated with impulse control relative to obese children (Bruce et al., 2013). Individuals with bulimia nervosa and bingeeating disorder (Nasser et al., 2004) display greater impulsivity scores on self-report measures compared to healthy controls, and, using fMRI, patients with bulimia fail to engage self-regulatory Contents lists available at ScienceDirect journal homepage: "
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to exert self-control in the face of appetitive, alluring cues is a critical component of healthy development. The development of behavioral measures that use disease-relevant stimuli can greatly improve our understanding of cue-specific impairments in self-control. To produce such a tool relevant to the study of eating and weight disorders, we modified the traditional go/no-go task to include food and non-food targets. To confirm that performance on this new task was consistent with other go/no-go tasks, it was given to 147 healthy, normal weight volunteers between the ages of 5 and 30. High-resolution photos of food or toys were used as the target and nontarget stimuli. Consistent with expectations, overall improvements in accuracy were seen from childhood to adulthood. Participants responded more quickly and made more commission errors to food cues compared to nonfood cues (F(1,140)=21.76, P<0.001), although no behavioral differences were seen between low- and high-calorie food cues for this non-obese, healthy developmental sample. This novel food-specific go/no-go task may be used to track the development of self-control in the context of food cues and to evaluate deviations or deficits in the development of this ability in individuals at risk for eating problem behaviors and disorders.
    Psychiatry Research 05/2014; 219(1). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2014.04.053 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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