Obese children show hyperactivation to food pictures in brain networks linked to motivation, reward and cognitive control.
ABSTRACT To investigate the neural mechanisms of food motivation in children and adolescents, and examine brain activation differences between healthy weight (HW) and obese participants.
Ten HW children (ages 11-16; BMI < 85%ile) and 10 obese children (ages 10-17; BMI >95%ile) matched for age, gender and years of education.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans were conducted twice: when participants were hungry (pre-meal) and immediately after a standardized meal (post-meal). During the fMRI scans, the participants passively viewed blocked images of food, non-food (animals) and blurred baseline control.
Both groups of children showed brain activation to food images in the limbic and paralimbic regions (PFC/OFC). The obese group showed significantly greater activation to food pictures in the PFC (pre-meal) and OFC (post-meal) than the HW group. In addition, the obese group showed less post-meal reduction of activation (vs pre-meal) in the PFC, limbic and the reward-processing regions, including the nucleus accumbens.
Limbic and paralimbic activation in high food motivation states was noted in both groups of participants. However, obese children were hyper-responsive to food stimuli as compared with HW children. In addition, unlike HW children, brain activations in response to food stimuli in obese children failed to diminish significantly after eating. This study provides initial evidence that obesity, even among children, is associated with abnormalities in neural networks involved in food motivation, and that the origins of neural circuitry dysfunction associated with obesity may begin early in life.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Cary R Savage, Dec 16, 2013
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Obesity rates are associated with public health consequences and rising health care costs. Weight loss interventions, while effective, do not work for everyone, and weight regain is a significant problem. Eating behavior is influenced by a convergence of processes in the brain, including homeostatic factors and motivational processing that are important contributors to overeating. Initial neuroimaging studies have identified brain regions that respond differently to visual food cues in obese and healthy weight individuals that are positively correlated with reports of hunger in obese participants. While these findings provide mechanisms of overeating, many important questions remain. It is not known whether brain activation patterns change after weight loss, or if they change differentially based on amount of weight lost. Also, little is understood regarding biological processes that contribute to long-term weight maintenance. This study will use neuroimaging in participants while viewing food and non-food images. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging will take place before and after completion of a twelve-week weight loss intervention. Obese participants will be followed though a 6-month maintenance period. The study will address three aims: 1. Characterize brain activation underlying food motivation and impulsive behaviors in obese individuals. 2. Identify brain activation changes and predictors of weight loss. 3. Identify brain activation predictors of weight loss maintenance. Findings from this study will have implications for understanding mechanisms of obesity, weight loss, and weight maintenance. Results will be significant to public health and could lead to a better understanding of how differences in brain activation relate to obesity. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Body weight is determined via both metabolic and hedonic mechanisms. Metabolic regulation of body weight centres around the 'body weight set point', which is programmed by energy balance circuitry in the hypothalamus and other specific brain regions. The metabolic body weight set point has a genetic basis, but exposure to an obesogenic environment may elicit allostatic responses and upward drift of the set point, leading to a higher maintained body weight. However, an elevated steady-state body weight may also be achieved without an alteration of the metabolic set point, via sustained hedonic over-eating, which is governed by the reward system of the brain and can override homeostatic metabolic signals. While hedonic signals are potent influences in determining food intake, metabolic regulation involves the active control of both food intake and energy expenditure. When overweight is due to elevation of the metabolic set point ('metabolic obesity'), energy expenditure theoretically falls onto the standard energy-mass regression line. In contrast, when a steady-state weight is above the metabolic set point due to hedonic over-eating ('hedonic obesity'), a persistent compensatory increase in energy expenditure per unit metabolic mass may be demonstrable. Recognition of the two types of obesity may lead to more effective treatment and prevention of obesity. © 2015 World Obesity.Obesity Reviews 01/2015; 16(3). DOI:10.1111/obr.12246 · 7.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Objective:There is evidence of altered neural taste response in female adolescents who are obese (OB), and in adolescents who are at risk for obesity. To further understand risk factors for the development of overeating and obesity, we investigated response to tastes of sucrose and water in 23 OB and healthy weight (HW) children.Methods and design:Thirteen HW and 10 OB 8-12-year-old children underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while tasting sucrose and water. Additionally, children completed an eating in the absence of hunger paradigm and a sucrose-liking task.Results:A region of interest analysis revealed an elevated BOLD response to taste (sucrose and water) within the bilateral insula and amygdala in OB children relative to HW children. Whole-brain analyses revealed a group by condition interaction within the paracingulate, medial frontal, middle frontal gyri and right amygdala: post hoc analyses suggested an increased response to sucrose for OB relative to HW children, whereas HW children responded more strongly to water relative to sucrose. In addition, OB children, relative to HW, tended to recruit the right putamen as well as medial and lateral frontal and temporal regions bilaterally.Conclusion:This study showed increased reactivity in the amygdala and insula in the OB compared with HW children, but no functional differentiation in the striatum, despite differences in the striatum previously seen in older samples. These findings support the concept of the association between increased neural processing of food reward in the development of obesity, and raise the possibility that emotional and interoceptive sensitivity could be an early vulnerability in obesity.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 13 January 2015; doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.206.International journal of obesity (2005) 12/2014; 39(4). DOI:10.1038/ijo.2014.206 · 5.39 Impact Factor