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Front Behav Neurosci. 2014 Feb 28;8:57. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00057. eCollection 2014.

Optogenetic and chemogenetic insights into the food addiction hypothesis.

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Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD, USA.


Obesity is clinically diagnosed by a simple formula based on the weight and height of a person (body mass index), but is associated with a host of other behavioral symptoms that are likely neurological in origin. In recent years, many scientists have asked whether similar behavioral and cognitive changes occur in drug addiction and obesity, lending many to discuss the potential for "food addiction". Advances in understanding the circuitry underlying both feeding behaviors and drug addiction may allow us to consider this question from the viewpoint of neural circuits, to complement behavioral perspectives. Here, we review advances in understanding of these circuits and use them to consider whether drawing comparisons to drug addiction is helpful for understanding certain forms of obesity.


addiction; arcuate; feeding; food; obesity; optogenetics; striatum

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