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Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan;97(1):15-22. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.043307. Epub 2012 Dec 12.

Altered hypothalamic response to food in smokers.

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  • 1John B Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Smoking cessation is often followed by weight gain. Eating behaviors and weight change have been linked to the brain response to food, but it is unknown whether smoking influences this response.

OBJECTIVE:

We determined the influence of smoking status (smokers compared with nonsmokers) on the brain response to food in regions associated with weight changes in nonsmokers.

DESIGN:

In study 1, we used functional MRI (fMRI) to identify regions of the brain associated with weight change in nonsmokers. BMI and the brain response to a milk shake, which is a palatable and energy-dense food, were measured in a group of 27 nonsmokers (5 men). Sixteen subjects (3 men) returned 1 y later for BMI reassessment. The change in BMI was regressed against the brain response to isolate regions associated with weight change. In study 2, to determine whether smokers showed altered responses in regions associated with weight change, we assessed the brain response to a milk shake in 11 smokers. The brain response to a milk shake compared with a tasteless control solution was assessed in 11 smokers (5 men) in comparison with a group of age-, sex- and body weight-matched nonsmokers selected from the pool of nonsmokers who participated in study 1.

RESULTS:

The response in the midbrain, hypothalamus, thalamus, and ventral striatum was positively associated with weight change at the 1-y follow-up in 16 nonsmokers. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers had a greater response to milk shakes in the hypothalamus.

CONCLUSION:

Smokers display an altered brain response to food in the hypothalamus, which is an area associated with long-term weight change in nonsmokers.

PMID:
23235196
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3522134
Free PMC Article
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