Neuroanatomical correlates of food addiction and obesity in the general population

Description: The food addiction model suggests neurobiological similarities between substance-related and addictive disorders and obesity. While structural brain differences have been consistently reported in these conditions, little is known about the neuroanatomical correlates of food addiction. We therefore aimed to determine whether food addiction relate to obesity, personality and brain structure in a large population-based sample. Participants of the LIFE-Adult study (n=625; 20-59 years old, 45% women) answered the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) and further personality measures, underwent anthropometric assessments and high-resoultion 3T-neuroimaging. A higher YFAS symptom score correlated with obesity, eating behaviour traits, neuroticism and stress. In a whole-brain analysis, YFAS symptom score was not associated with cortical thickness nor subcortical gray matter volumes. Higher body mass index (BMI) correlated with reduced thickness of (pre)frontal, temporal and occipital cortex. Bayes factor analysis suggested that BMI and - to a smaller extent - YFAS symptom score contributed independently to right lateral orbitofrontal cortex thickness. Our study indicates that symptoms of food addiction do not account for the major part of the structural brain differences associated with obesity in the general population. Yet, food addiction might explain additional variance in orbitofrontal cortex, a hub area of the reward network. Longitudinal studies implementing both anatomical and functional MRI could further disentangle the neural mechanisms of addictive eating behaviors.

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Add DateAug. 22, 2018, 12:54 p.m.
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