Your mind can have an effect on how profitable you’re in your weight reduction efforts

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have shown that two specific networks in the brain have a powerful impact on how successful their weight loss journey can be.


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The study aimed to understand whether the degree of weight loss after six months of a behavior-based intervention is related to connectivity with two functional networks FN1 and FN2 in a group of older adults with obesity.

To the unconscious, functional brain networks are areas of the brain that work together synchronously. For this study, 71 participants participating in a randomized weight loss clinical trial underwent MRI scans prior to their study to see if FN1 and FN2 would indicate weight loss and how.

Participants were first scanned at rest and then again after being given a food-cue task. At the end of the six months, the data were further analyzed to compare the association between the baseline networks and the participants’ weight change.

Researchers found that during rest, the relationship of brain function in FN1, which includes sensory and motor skills, was significantly associated with six-month weight loss. Looking at the food cue state, the six-month loss was strongly associated with FN2, which is known to involve self-regulation and the ability to focus attention.

Researchers say that two different brain network biases are associated with the level of weight loss success — during the resting state there is a sensorimotor motivational bias to search for food, while when processing food cues there is a deficit in the executive control and attention network .

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Your brain can affect how successful you can be in your weight loss efforts

The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Jonathan Burdette, professor of radiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, explains: “These results show that the brain network characteristics of people who were less successful at losing weight were different from those who were more successful. Some people have a stronger unconscious sensorimotor tendency to seek out food, while others seem to have less. In a food-abundant society with food cues everywhere, this information may help explain why some people have such trouble losing and maintaining excess weight . “

Burdette added: “Our findings provide further insight into complex functional circuits in the brain, so we now have a mechanistic understanding of why people don’t lose weight.” In theory, if you know more about drives and control, we’ll be able to tailor therapies for one individual instead of treating everyone the same way.”

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