“Exposure to Appetitive Food Stimuli Markedly Activates the Human Brain.”

Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 05/2004; 21(4):1790-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.11.026
Source: PubMed


The increased incidence of obesity most likely reflects changes in the environment that had made food more available and palatable. Here we assess the response of the human brain to the presentation of appetitive food stimuli during food presentation using PET and FDG.
Metabolic changes in response to food presentation were done in 12 healthy normal body weight subjects who were food deprived before the study.
Food presentation significantly increased metabolism in the whole brain (24%, P < 0.01) and these changes were largest in superior temporal, anterior insula, and orbitofrontal cortices. The increases in the right orbitofrontal cortex were the ones that correlated significantly with the increases in self-reports of hunger and desire for food.
The marked increase in brain metabolism by the presentation of food provides evidence of the high sensitivity of the human brain to food stimuli. This high sensitivity coupled with the ubiquitousness of food stimuli in the environment is likely to contribute to the epidemic of obesity. In particular, the activation of the right orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region involved with drive, may underlie the motivation to procure food, which may be subjectively experienced as "desire for food" and "hunger" when exposed to food stimuli.

    • "). Neurobehavioral models of obesity suggest that some individuals have difficulty controlling food intake partly because they attribute excessive incentive salience to stimuli signaling food availability (Berridge et al., 2010; Berthoud, 2012; Wang et al., 2004). Incentive salience refers to the motivational properties that make a stimulus wanted (Robinson, Yager, Cogan, & Saunders, 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Aberrant brain reward responses to food-related cues are an implied characteristic of human obesity; yet, findings are inconsistent. To explain these inconsistencies, we aimed to uncover endophenotypes associated with heterogeneity in attributing incentive salience to food cues in the context of other emotionally salient cues; a phenomenon described as sign- vs goal tracking in preclinical models. Data from 64 lean and 88 obese adults who were 35.5 ± 9.4 years old and predominantly women (79%) were analyzed. Participants viewed food-related, pleasant, neutral and unpleasant images while recording electroencephalograph. Late positive potentials were used to assess incentive salience attributed to the visual stimuli. Eating and affective traits were also assessed. Findings demonstrated that obese individuals, in general, do not demonstrate aberrant brain reward responses to food-related cues. As hypothesized, latent profile analysis of the late positive potential uncovered two distinct groups. ‘Sign-trackers’ showed greater responses to food-related cues (P < 0.001) but lower responses to pleasant stimuli (P < 0.001) compared with ‘goal-trackers’. There were proportionally more obese than lean ‘sign-trackers’ (P = 0.03). Obese ‘sign-trackers’ reported significantly higher levels of emotional eating and food craving (P < 0.001). By examining the heterogeneity in brain reactivity to various emotional stimuli, this translational study highlights the need to consider important neurobehavioral endophenotypes of obesity.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
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    • "Un altro esempio di come le capacità inibitorie possano agire sul sistema di ricompensa proviene da uno studio di neuroimmagine (Wang et al., 2004) in cui ai partecipanti veniva chiesto di astenersi dal mangiare per 17-19 ore. Mentre la loro attività cerebrale veniva registrata mediante la tomografia ad emissione di positroni (PET), ai partecipanti venivano presentati i loro cibi preferiti sia mediante l'olfatto che il gusto. "

    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015
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    • "Advantages of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission topography (PET) paradigms have been used to provide insights of neural correlates in food addiction and obesity (Wang et al., 2004a; Teegarden and Bale, 2007; Volkow et al., 2012). Interestingly, following various types of food presentation to normal healthy patients, activated brain regions of anterior cingulate cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and insula are observed (Wang et al., 2004a; Teegarden and Bale, 2007). In contrast to obese overeating patients, neurobiological changes in the reward pathways are similar to those observed in drug addicts (Volkow et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Food is a potent natural reward and food intake is a complex process. Reward and gratification associated with food consumption leads to dopamine (DA) production, which in turn activates reward and pleasure centers in the brain. An individual will repeatedly eat a particular food to experience this positive feeling of gratification. This type of repetitive behavior of food intake leads to the activation of brain reward pathways that eventually overrides other signals of satiety and hunger. Thus, a gratification habit through a favorable food leads to overeating and morbid obesity. Overeating and obesity stems from many biological factors engaging both central and peripheral systems in a bi-directional manner involving mood and emotions. Emotional eating and altered mood can also lead to altered food choice and intake leading to overeating and obesity. Research findings from human and animal studies support a two-way link between three concepts, mood, food, and obesity. The focus of this article is to provide an overview of complex nature of food intake where various biological factors link mood, food intake, and brain signaling that engages both peripheral and central nervous system signaling pathways in a bi-directional manner in obesity.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Frontiers in Psychology
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