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  • November 11, 2015
  • 03:29 AM
  • 827 views

Obesity Is Not Like Being "Addicted to Food"

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Credit: Image courtesy of Aalto UniversityIs it possible to be “addicted” to food, much like an addiction to substances (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, opiates) or behaviors (gambling, shopping, Facebook)? An extensive and growing literature uses this terminology in the context of the “obesity epidemic”, and looks for the root genetic and neurobiological causes (Carlier et al., 2015; Volkow & Bailer, 2015).Fig. 1 (Meule, 2015). Number of scientific publications on food addiction (1990-2014). Web of Science search term “food addiction”. Figure 1 might lead you to believe that the term “food addiction” was invented in the late 2000s by NIDA. But this term is not new at all, as Adrian Meule (2015) explained in his historical overview, Back by Popular Demand: A Narrative Review on the History of Food Addiction Research. Dr. Theron G. Randolph wrote about food addiction in 1956 (he also wrote about food allergies).Fig. 2 (Meule, 2015). History of food addiction research.Thus, the concept of food addiction predates the documented rise in obesity in the US, which really took off in the late 80s to late 90s (as shown below).1 Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 1960-2012 1960-62 1971-74 1976-80 1988-89 1999-2000 12.80% 14.10% 14.50% 22.50% 30.50% 2007-08 2011-12 33.80% 34.90% Sources: Flegal et al. 1998, 2002, 2010; Ogden et al. 2014One problem with the “food addiction” construct is that you can live without alcohol and gambling, but you'll die if you don't eat. Complete abstinence is not an option.2 Another problem is that most obese people simply don't show signs of addiction (Hebebrand, 2015): ...irrespective of whether scientific evidence will justify use of the term food and/or eating addiction, most obese individuals have neither a food nor an eating addiction.3 Obesity frequently develops slowly over many years; only a slight energy surplus is required to in the longer term develop overweight. Genetic, neuroendocrine, physiological and environmental research has taught us that obesity is a complex disorder with many risk factors, each of which have small individual effects and interact in a complex manner. The notion of addiction as a major cause of obesity potentially entails endless and fruitless debates, when it is clearly not relevant to the great majority of cases of overweight and obesity. Still not convinced? Surely, differences in the brains' of obese individuals point to an addiction. The dopamine system is altered, right, so this must mean they're addicted to food? Well think again, because the evidence for this is inconsistent (Volkow et al., 2013; Ziauddeen & Fletcher, 2013).An important new paper by a Finnish research group has shown that D2 dopamine receptor binding in obese women is not different from that in lean participants (Karlsson et al., 2015). Conversely, μ-opioid receptor (MOR) binding is reduced, consistent with lowered hedonic processing. After the women had bariatric surgery (resulting in  mean weight loss of 26.1 kg, or 57.5 lbs), MOR returned to control values, while the unaltered D2 receptors stayed the same.In the study, 16 obese women (mean BMI=40.4, age 42.8) had PET scans before and six months after undergoing the standard Gastric Bypass procedure (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass) or the Sleeve Gastrectomy. A comparison group of non-obese women (BMI=22.7, age 44.9) was also scanned. The radiotracer [11C]carfentanil measured MOR availability and [11C]raclopride measured D2R availability in two separate sessions. The opioid and dopamine systems are famous for their roles in neural circuits for “liking” (pleasurable consumption) and “wanting”(incentive/motivation), respectively (Castro & Berridge, 2014).The pre-operative PET scans in the obese women showed that MOR binding was significantly lower in a number of reward-related regions, including ventral striatum, dorsal caudate, putamen, insula, amygdala, thalamus, orbitofrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex. Six months after surgery, there was an overall 23% increase in MOR availability, which was no longer different from controls.... Read more »

  • November 10, 2015
  • 02:36 PM
  • 644 views

Reproducibility Crisis: The Plot Thickens

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper from British psychologists David Shanks and colleagues will add to the growing sense of a "reproducibility crisis" in the field of psychology.

The paper is called Romance, Risk, and Replication and it examines the question of whether subtle reminders of 'mating motives' (i.e. sex) can make people more willing to spend money and take risks. In 'romantic priming' experiments, participants are first 'primed' e.g. by reading a story about meeting an attractive member of the opposite s... Read more »

Shanks DR, Vadillo MA, Riedel B, Clymo A, Govind S, Hickin N, Tamman AJ, & Puhlmann LM. (2015) Romance, Risk, and Replication: Can Consumer Choices and Risk-Taking Be Primed by Mating Motives?. Journal of experimental psychology. General. PMID: 26501730  

  • November 10, 2015
  • 02:19 PM
  • 347 views

New vaccine could prevent high cholesterol

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new cholesterol-lowering vaccine leads to reductions in ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in mice and macaques, according to research. The authors of the study, from the University of New Mexico and the National Institutes of health in the United States, say the vaccine has the potential to be a more powerful treatment than statins alone.... Read more »

Crossey, E., Amar, M., Sampson, M., Peabody, J., Schiller, J., Chackerian, B., & Remaley, A. (2015) A cholesterol-lowering VLP vaccine that targets PCSK9. Vaccine, 33(43), 5747-5755. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.09.044  

  • November 9, 2015
  • 06:50 PM
  • 472 views

One energy drink may increase heart disease risk in young adults

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research shows that drinking one 16-ounce energy drink can increase blood pressure and stress hormone responses significantly. This raises the concern that these response changes could increase the risk of cardiovascular events.... Read more »

  • November 9, 2015
  • 01:17 PM
  • 688 views

Solving the silicon swelling problem in batteries

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Silicon anodes offer great capacity for next-generation batteries but suffer from volume expansion that degrades batteries. Here new research has found a clever method to allow for volume expansion and maintain their high potential capacity!... Read more »

  • November 8, 2015
  • 03:34 PM
  • 476 views

The connection between masculinity, energy drink use, and sleep problems

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Energy drinks have grown in popularity for many Americans, but there is growing concern about the health risks of consuming them in large quantities. Because men are the main consumers of energy drinks, a research team lead by Dr. Ronald F. Levant, a professor of psychology at The University of Akron, set out to study a possible link between masculinity, expectations about the benefits of consuming energy drinks, how those expectations affect energy drink use, and the impact on sleep.... Read more »

  • November 7, 2015
  • 02:32 PM
  • 439 views

The first line of defense? Think Mucus

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

By licking a wound it heals faster — this is not simply popular belief, but scientifically proven. Our saliva consists of water and mucus, among other things, and the mucus plays an important role. It stimulates white blood cells to build a good defense against invaders, according to a group of researchers at Lund University in Sweden together with colleagues from Copenhagen and Odense in Denmark.... Read more »

Mohanty, T., Sjogren, J., Kahn, F., Abu-Humaidan, A., Fisker, N., Assing, K., Morgelin, M., Bengtsson, A., Borregaard, N., & Sorensen, O. (2015) A novel mechanism for NETosis provides antimicrobial defense at the oral mucosa. Blood, 126(18), 2128-2137. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2015-04-641142  

  • November 6, 2015
  • 10:54 PM
  • 427 views

Cancer survivors less likely to receive callbacks from potential employers

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Job applicants who are cancer survivors are less likely to receive callbacks from potential retail employers than those who did not disclose their health history, according to a recent study by Rice University and Penn State University researchers.... Read more »

  • November 6, 2015
  • 05:30 PM
  • 614 views

Concept Before Procedure? It Doesn't Matter

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Overall, both longitudinal and experimental studies indicate that procedural knowledge leads to improvements in conceptual knowledge, in addition to vice versa. The relations between the two types of knowledge are bidirectional. It is a myth that it is a "one-way street" from conceptual knowledge to procedural knowledge.... Read more »

  • November 5, 2015
  • 03:55 PM
  • 457 views

Adults’ happiness on the decline

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Are you less happy than your parents were at the same age? It may not be all in your head. Researchers led by San Diego State University professor Jean M. Twenge found adults over age 30 are not as happy as they used to be, but teens and young adults are happier than ever. Researchers analyzed data from four nationally representative samples of 1.3 million Americans ages 13 to 96 taken from 1972 to 2014.... Read more »

Jean M. Twenge, Ryne A. Sherman, & Sonja Lyubomirsky. (2015) More Happiness for Young People and Less for Mature Adults: Time Period Differences in Subjective Well-Being in the United States, 1972–2014. Social Psychological and Personality Science. info:/10.1177/1948550615602933

  • November 5, 2015
  • 12:25 PM
  • 655 views

Bibliometric indicators of the European scientific production

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Europe brings together many countries leaders in scientific and technological research and has encouraged cooperation programs between institutions, countries and regions to foster competitiveness, impact and relevance in research. A comprehensive study based on bibliometric indices analyzes the scientific output of the region and appraises its contribution to the realization of the European Research Area. … Read More →... Read more »

European Comission. (2015) Analysis of Bibliometric Indicators for European Policies 2000-2013. European Comission. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.2777/194026

  • November 4, 2015
  • 06:29 PM
  • 400 views

Brain’s immune system could be harnessed to fight Alzheimer’s

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study suggests that the brain’s immune system could potentially be harnessed to help clear the amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.... Read more »

  • November 3, 2015
  • 02:26 PM
  • 492 views

Lipid helps keep algae and brain fluid moving

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The same lipid that helps algae swim toward the light also appears to enable one type of brain cell to keep cerebrospinal fluid moving, researchers report. ... Read more »

Kong, J., Hardin, K., Dinkins, M., Wang, G., He, Q., Mujadzic, T., Zhu, G., Bielawski, J., Spassieva, S., & Bieberich, E. (2015) Regulation of Chlamydomonas flagella and ependymal cell motile cilia by ceramide-mediated translocation of GSK3. Molecular Biology of the Cell. DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E15-06-0371  

  • November 2, 2015
  • 07:05 PM
  • 473 views

Predicting what side effects you’ll experience from a drug

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a model that could be used to predict a drug’s side effects on different patients. The proof of concept study is aimed at determining how different individuals will respond to a drug treatment and could help assess whether a drug is suitable for a particular patient based on measurements taken from the patient’s blood.... Read more »

  • November 2, 2015
  • 12:25 AM
  • 720 views

Week In Review: Open-Access Science | 26 Oct to 1 Nov

by TakFurTheKaffe in Tak Fur The Kaffe

From a new date for earliest life on earth to the potentially controversial findings that Antarctica is gaining more ice than it’s loosing, here are 5 of the latest scientific studies published open-access this week.... Read more »

Bell, E., Boehnke, P., Harrison, T., & Mao, W. (2015) Potentially biogenic carbon preserved in a 4.1 billion-year-old zircon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201517557. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517557112  

Zwally, H. Jay, Li, Jun, Robbins, John W, Saba, Jack L, Yi, Donghui, & Brenner, Anita C. (2015) Mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses. Journal of Glaciology. DOI: 10.3189/2015JoG15J071  

Tyagi, N., Farnell, E., Fitzsimmons, C., Ryan, S., Tukahebwa, E., Maizels, R., Dunne, D., Thornton, J., & Furnham, N. (2015) Comparisons of Allergenic and Metazoan Parasite Proteins: Allergy the Price of Immunity. PLOS Computational Biology, 11(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004546  

Barrett, S., Speth, R., Eastham, S., Dedoussi, I., Ashok, A., Malina, R., & Keith, D. (2015) Impact of the Volkswagen emissions control defeat device on US public health. Environmental Research Letters, 10(11), 114005. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/11/114005  

  • November 1, 2015
  • 03:20 PM
  • 534 views

Kids meals, toys, and TV advertising: A triple threat to child health

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fast food companies advertise children’s meals on TV with ads that feature toy premiums, and it has been suggested that the use of these toy premiums may prompt children to request eating at fast food restaurants. In a new study, researchers found that the more children watched television channels that aired ads for children’s fast food meals, the more frequently their families visited those fast food restaurants.... Read more »

  • October 31, 2015
  • 03:49 PM
  • 424 views

Lack of ZZZZs may zap cell growth, brain activity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Lack of adequate sleep can do more than just make you tired. It can short-circuit your system and interfere with a fundamental cellular process that drives physical growth, physiological adaptation and even brain activity, according to a new study. Albrecht von Arnim, a molecular biologist based in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, studied plants but said the concepts may well translate to humans.... Read more »

Missra, A., Ernest, B., Lohoff, T., Jia, Q., Satterlee, J., Ke, K., & von Arnim, A. (2015) The Circadian Clock Modulates Global Daily Cycles of mRNA Ribosome Loading. The Plant Cell, 27(9), 2582-2599. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.00546  

  • October 29, 2015
  • 08:36 PM
  • 413 views

Science (which needs communication) first, careers (which need selectivity) later

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Science communication and career advancement via journal publications are too closely intertwined, to the detriment of science. The selectivity of journals slows, hampers, and distorts the communication process. Therefore, the processes of scientific communication and assessment for career advancement should be separated. As a welcome side effect, publishing, particularly publishing with open access, could be very much cheaper than it is currently (and the money saved used for research). … Read More →... Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 04:00 PM
  • 499 views

Conceptual Knowledge Is Important

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Conceptual fraction and proportion knowledge and procedural fraction and proportion knowledge play a major role in understanding individual differences in proportional word problem-solving performance.... Read more »

  • October 29, 2015
  • 01:59 PM
  • 485 views

What blocks pro-vaccine beliefs?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite rhetoric that pits “anti-vaxxers” versus “pro-vaxxers,” most new parents probably qualify as vaccine-neutral–that is, they passively accept rather than actively demand vaccination. Unless there is an active threat of polio or whooping cough, they have to remind themselves that injecting their crying infant with disease antigens is a good thing.... Read more »

Miton, & Mercier. (2015) Cognitive Obstacles to Pro-Vaccination Beliefs. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2015.08.007

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