Link Between Memory & Appetite to Explain Obesity

New research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reveals that disrupted connections between brain circuits responsible for memory and appetite regulation are closely associated with body mass index (BMI), especially in individuals with eating disorders like binge eating disorder (BED) and obesity. This study, published in Nature, highlights that obese individuals exhibit impaired connections between the dorsolateral hippocampus (dlHPC) and the lateral hypothalamus (LH), affecting their ability to control emotional responses when anticipating rewarding meals. The dlHPC handles memory processing, while the LH maintains bodily stability (homeostasis). The research employed electrical brain monitoring in patients anticipating sweet treats and found that both the dlHPC and LH activated together, with stronger connectivity in obese individuals correlating with higher BMI. Brain tissue analysis confirmed a link between these regions through the presence of the feeding behavior-regulating melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) in the dlHPC. This study suggests potential for identifying at-risk individuals and developing innovative therapies targeting these brain circuits to combat obesity and related eating disorders.


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Taylor Marks
Taylor Marks is a certified holistic health coach and professionally trained chef from The Institute of Culinary Education. Her passions include the latest research in health science, culinary arts, holistic wellness, and guiding others towards feeling their best.