Food on the Brain
It’s a fact: when we’re hungry, we can’t stop thinking about food. Now, two new studies show the precise differences in how the brain responds to food cues during hunger and fullness. The goal of researchers is to learn how to shift the brain’s attention away from unhealthy food cues, leading to healthier choices.
Both of the recent studies were performed in mice. One recorded brain activity in hungry and satiated subjects exposed to visual cues associated with a high-calorie treat, a bitter liquid, or no food at all. The brain response to the high-calorie food cue was much stronger in hungry mice, than mice that weren’t hungry.
In the second study, food cues shown to hungry subjects continued to produce high-levels of food-seeking behavior, even when the subjects were exposed to threatening stimuli. Satiated subjects avoided seeking food when exposed to the stimuli. Information from additional studies may help control overweight/obesity, as well as eating disorders like anorexia and binge eating.
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