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Physiol Behav. 2007 Aug 15;91(5):499-505. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Neural mechanisms underlying obesity and drug addiction.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.


Increasing rates of obesity have alarmed health officials and prompted much public dialogue. While the factors leading to obesity are numerous, an inability to control intake of freely available food is central to the problem. In order to understand this, we need to better define the mechanisms by which the brain regulates food intake, and why it is often difficult to control consumption. From this point of view, it seems valuable to consider the commonalities between food intake and drug abuse. While research in the two fields has historically emphasized different neural substrates, recent data have increased interest in better defining elements that may underlie both drug addiction and obesity. Here we discuss some of these shared elements with an emphasis on emerging areas of research that better define common mechanisms leading to overconsumption.

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