Posted by: Chris Maloney | May 29, 2012

Why Can’t You Lose Weight? It’s A Brain Issue. Or Is It?

A fMRI scan showing regions of activation in o...

A fMRI scan showing regions of activation in orange, including the primary visual cortex (V1, BA17). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a little light reading about the brain, I found this wonderful abstract explaining why we can’t lose weight.  The authors found “extensive modulation elicited by food stimuli” between lean and overweight individuals.  Lean individuals got a broader sense of food, while overweight individuals had their brains just tell them it was yummy.  Overweight individuals also had brain changes in “motivational salience, and executive control.”  In other  words, overweight people have more trouble with food because they are hyper aware of the yumminess of food, and they have trouble with controlling their motivation to eat.  So did we just learn that the brain is responsible for causing the obesity epidemic, or did we learn absolutely nothing we didn’t already know?  Now we need to study lean individuals as they become more overweight and see if they exhibit the brain changes before the body changes or visa versa.  I volunteer the entire American population.

Cereb Cortex. 2012 May 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Functional Network Connectivity Underlying Food Processing: Disturbed Salience and Visual Processing in Overweight and Obese Adults.


MEG Center.


In order to adequately explore the neurobiological basis of eating behavior of humans and their changes with body weight, interactions between brain areas or networks need to be investigated. In the current functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we examined the modulating effects of stimulus category (food vs. nonfood), caloric content of food, and body weight on the time course and functional connectivity of 5 brain networks by means of independent component analysis in healthy lean and overweight/obese adults. These functional networks included motor sensory, default-mode, extrastriate visual, temporal visual association, and salience networks. We found an extensive modulation elicited by food stimuli in the 2 visual and salience networks, with a dissociable pattern in the time course and functional connectivity between lean and overweight/obese subjects. Specifically, only in lean subjects, the temporal visual association network was modulated by the stimulus category and the salience network by caloric content, whereas overweight and obese subjects showed a generalized augmented response in the salience network. Furthermore, overweight/obese subjects showed changes in functional connectivity in networks important for object recognition, motivational salience, and executive control. These alterations could potentially lead to top-down deficiencies driving the overconsumption of food in the obese population.

PMID:  22586138


  1. Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

  2. So it’s all in the mind. I suppose it all goes down to discipline in the end. It’ll help us save more money too and be healthy, avoiding: But I suppose eating right and healthy is always the best answer.

  3. […] post: Why Can't You Lose Weight? It's A Brain Issue. Or Is It? « Alternative … 此条目发表在 Loss Weight 分类目录,贴了 between-lean, brain, extensive-modulation, […]

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