Description: Obesity is associated with altered responses to food stimuli in prefrontal brain networks that mediate inhibitory control of ingestive behavior. In particular, activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) is reduced in obese compared to normal-weight subjects and has been linked to the success of weight-loss dietary interventions. In a randomized controlled trial in overweight/obese subjects, we investigated the effect on eating behavior of volitional up-regulation of dlPFC activity via real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) neurofeedback training. Participants of both groups succeeded in up-regulating activity of the targeted brain area. However, participants of the control group also showed increased left dlPFC activity during up-regulation. Functional connectivity between dlPFC and ventromedial PFC, an area that processes food value, was generally increased during upregulation compared to passive viewing. At follow-up compared to baseline, both groups rated pictures of high-, but not low-calorie foods as less palatable and chose them less frequently. Actual snack intake remained unchanged but palatability and choice ratings for chocolate cookies decreased after training.
Related article: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.02.033
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