Study Shows Differences in Brain Activity Between Men and Women Who Are Obese
A new study of obese people suggests that changes in their brains’ reward regions make them more prone to overeating, and that women and men exhibit different brain activity related to overeating. Researchers from UCLA found that women who are obese showed more prominent changes in the reward system related to dopamine responsiveness, suggesting that emotion-related and compulsive eating play a larger role in their overeating. Men who are obese showed a different pattern of brain remodeling in sensorimotor regions, a sign that their eating behavior is affected by a greater awareness of gut sensations and visceral responses. Stress and drug use are known to affect how sex and sex hormones modulate the function of the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is involved in the reward system in the brain. It’s possible that these factors lead to reduced dopamine signaling, according to research. Past studies have also demonstrated how altered processing of rewarding stimuli results in excessive eating. These new findings show that obesity has similar types of effects on the mesolimbic dopamine system.
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