Food cue reactivity under stress
Collins, Brittany Lynn
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Obese individuals exhibit increased BOLD activation in limbic system regions after exposure to food cues. Few studies have examined neural processing of food cues in states of stress. The current study examined neurobiological responses to food cues in obese and healthy weight individuals prior to and following stress induction utilizing fMRI. Healthy weight individuals exhibited greater activation in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) than obese participants after exposure to food cues and a stress induction. All participants exhibited a decrease in activation in these regions, and the insula, following stress induction; and had increased activation in the orbitofrontal cortex when contrasting post stress to pre stress food cues. Exploratory analyses indicated that regions other than a priori ROIs exhibited changes in activation from pre-stress to post-stress exposure to food cues. Results suggest that stress may cause deactivation in limbic system response to food cues in obese participants.