Update: Brain Patterns Differ in Obese Men and Women

Men and women have different brain activity related to eating, according to results of a study at UCLA Health Sciences Center. A team of researchers from UCLA led by Arpana Gupta collected brain images from 61 obese males and 63 females who had no significant medical or psychiatric conditions. The obese women had greater changes in the brain’s reward system; the brain reward and salience systems were more actively connected in people with higher body mass indexes (BMIs). Additionally, a different pattern emerged in sensorineural regions. In contrast to the pattern seen in the obese women, the men had greater awareness of gut sensations and visceral responses. The UCLA researchers then calculated how the brain’s reward, sensorimotor, and salience networks were related to information flow. The authors recently published their findings online in the International Journal of Obesity (2017; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.86). These results add support for the role of altered brain function in eating behavior.

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