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Pediatr Obes. 2019 Feb;14(2):e12435. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12435. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

Neural processing of food cues in pre-pubertal children.

Author information

1
Division of Endocrinology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
2
Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
3
Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, CA, USA.
4
Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
5
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:

Neuroimaging investigations of brain pathways involved in reward and motivation have primarily focused on adults. This study sought to identify brain responses to visual food cues and explore its relationships with adiposity and sex in pre-pubertal children.

METHODS:

Brain responses to palatable food vs. non-food cues were measured in 53 children (age: 8.18 ± .66 years; sex: 22 boys, 31 girls) after an overnight fast. Whole-brain analysis (cluster-correction Z > 2.3, P < .05) was performed to examine brain food cue reactivity and its relationships with adiposity and sex.

RESULTS:

Greater brain activity in response to food vs. non-food cues was observed in regions implicated in reward (orbital frontal cortex, striatum), taste (insula, postcentral gyrus), appetite (hypothalamus), emotion (amygdala), memory (hippocampus), visual processing (occipital cortex) and attention (parietal cortex). A negative association was found between percent body fat and food cue reactivity in the medial prefrontal cortex and lateral orbital frontal cortex adjusting for age and sex. Boys compared with girls had increased food cue reactivity in right hippocampus and visual cortex.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that body fat and sex are important moderators of brain food cue reactivity in children.

KEYWORDS:

Adiposity; children; food cue reactivity; sex

PMID:
30019454
PMCID:
PMC6336530
[Available on 2020-02-01]
DOI:
10.1111/ijpo.12435
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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