You are on a diet and have sworn to not have that huge extra cheese beef burger but as soon as you visit your favourite burger shop and find a glimpse of the sinful burger, you just can’t stop yourself. You go “just this one time” and poof goes your diet. You could blame this on to the decreased activity in the dorsolateral cortex (DLPFC).
DLPFC is responsible for executive functions of your brain and decrease in its activity can result lead to your irresistibility for calorie-dense snacks that result into weight gain. Executive functions are defined to be a set of cognitive functions that enable “top-down” control of action, emotion and thought.
“Decreased DLPFC activity appeared to be associated with increased reward sensitivity — it made the participants more sensitive to the rewarding properties of palatable high caloric foods,” the researchers said.
The findings suggest that if the DLPFC function is enhanced and preserved through treatment, a person may prevent obesity and related disease.
“These findings shed light on the role of the DLPFC in food cravings (specifically reward anticipation), the consumption of appealing high caloric foods and the relation between self-control and food consumption,” said senior study author Peter Hall from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
The study involved 21 healthy young women who were selected on the basis of their strong and frequent craving for chocolate and potato chips. They were shown pictures of these foods to induce their cravings.
Theta-burst stimulation, which is a kind of magnetic stimulation, was applied on the women to decrease their DLPFC activity. After this, the women reported stronger cravings for food, particularly for white chocolate and potato chips.
The study appeared in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.
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