Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Overweight and obesity are concerns that span across the world though the population in developed country are more vulnerable because of their higher purchasing capacity compared to their counter parts in poor countries. But whether there is any correlation between economic factors and food craving seen among over weight people is still a matter of debate. Some experts believe that over eating is more a disease and those indulging in gluttony need treatment. Some others think the food industry is to be blamed for supplying cheap foods with empty calories with practically no nutritive value. Adding to the confusion is that fact some people even if they eat more calories than they really need still do not put on weight. The white fat vs brown fat debate that propounds the theory that those with higher brown fat do not put on unnecessary weight is still going on without any unequivocal conclusion. Ultimately every one agrees that consuming more calories than required by the body, without burning them through exercise, can be the major cause for overweight. Here comes another report that says that the brain is the culprit in making people eat more food through cravings and there is a possibility of reducing these cravings through electric stimulation of certain part of the brain. Read more details about this from the below referred report

"A new study conducted by the University of Waterloo explains the link between a certain part of brain and craving high-calorie food.According to the researchers, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is an area in brain that is involved in 'execution function'. Previous researches have established that DLPFC has a vital role to play in regulating food cravings. The team carried out an experiment on 21 women who frequently craved calorie-dense foods. These women were first shown pictures of high-calorie foods to stimulate their craving. The experts then applied magnetic stimulation to their DLPFC. It was found that this theta-burst stimulation resulted in reducing craving pangs for high-calorie foods in these women. During a subsequent "taste test," these women consumed more of these foods, rather than alternative, less-appetizing foods (dark chocolate and soda crackers). Stimulation to weaken DLPFC activity was also associated with lower performance on a test of inhibitory control strength. The study was published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society. According to the study, decreased DLPFC activity appeared to be associated with increased "reward sensitivity" and made the participants "more sensitive to the rewarding properties of palatable high caloric foods," the researchers said. The experts explained how people with weak executive function may lack the dietary self-control which plays a crucial role in regulating calorie-dense foods. Those who struggle to maintain this self-control may be more likely to become overweight or obese. DLPFC stimulation may come as a boon to them. At the "basic neurobiological level," the study provides direct evidence that the DLPFC is involved in one specific aspect of food cravings - reward anticipation. The team therefore concluded that with minor magnetic stimulation to a person's DLPFC, one's craving for high-calorie foods can be manipulated accordingly. This can aid in keeping a check on the rising levels of global obesity and associated diseases." 

It is crazy that those who eat uncontrollably had to be taken to a neurologist for brain treatment to curb their cravings! But if the findings are true,magnetic stimulation of DLPFC  could be a treatment procedure at least for a few people who are grossly obese requiring medical intervention. What is unclear in this report is whether such procedures have to applied throughout life or whether a regimen of treatment can cure such people of their cravings. Probably further work may be necessary to bring more clarity to the findings of the above group.



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