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Obesity Gene Mediates Kids’ Brain Response To Food

Scientists have reported a link between an obesity risk gene and the brain activity of children watching fast-food commercials. The study focused on the fat-mass and obesity associated ( FTO) gene, and it used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain associated with reward and eating behavior, said senior author Diane Gilbert-Diamond, ScD, of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues.

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Dr. Sears Comments:

Dr. Barry Sears

The power of the hedonistic reward system in over-eating is rarely appreciated. Recent studies have indicated if you reduce the appetite-stimulating signals in the hypothalamus by genetic engineering, the reward system of hedonistic response dramatically increases to compensate for that loss. It known that circulating saturated fats that are associated with obesity can distort the energy balance system in the hypothalamus. The result is the increase of desire for food especially that has significant hedonistic appeal.

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