Everything is in your head. Scientists from Johns Hopkins University told how stress affects appetite
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< p>Research finds a strong link between stress, appetite and obesity.
People cope with stress in different ways – someone seizes, someone goes in for sports, someone prefers to be distracted in another way. In a new study, scientists decided to put an end to the main question – how stress affects our appetite, writes Sci Tech Daily.
Almost three dozen people took part in a new study by scientists and Johns Hopkins University – 16 women and 13 men. At the same time, 17 adults were obese, and 12 were thin. All of them underwent two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans – the first during a period of calm, the second after a social and physical stress test.
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During both scans, the researchers recorded the recipients' reactions to the food words. The subjects were shown menu items, asked to imagine the food, its smell and taste, and describe how they would feel if they ate it right now. In addition, study participants were asked to answer a series of questions, such as how much they would like to eat each item on the menu and whether they should eat it. All this allowed scientists to also track how recipients relate to making decisions related to food.
Susan Carnell, Ph.D., PhD in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said the experiments showed that the reactions of obese adults and thin subjects are somewhat different. For example, scientists have found that those who are overweight show less activation of the cognitive control lobes of the brain, especially when it comes to high-calorie foods such as fried cheese.
In addition, the study showed that stress affects the brain's response to food. For example, obese people showed greater activation of the brain's reward area after stress.
Researchers were also able to detect links between experienced stress and brain responses in both groups, Carnell said. For example, lean people who reported higher levels of stress experienced showed lower activation of a brain area for cognitive control.
Thus, scientists confirmed the link between stress, appetite and obesity. Research shows that both lean and obese people respond to brain food signals related to reward and cognitive control in one way or another.