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Appetite. 2016 Jan 1;96:195-202. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.08.009. Epub 2015 Aug 12.

Greater anterior cingulate activation and connectivity in response to visual and auditory high-calorie food cues in binge eating: Preliminary findings.

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Department of Psychiatry, Mt Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA; Department of Psychology, Touro College and University System, New York, NY, USA.
Division of Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division, New York State Psychiatric Institute, NY, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, USA.
Department of Neurobiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Division of Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:


Obese individuals show altered neural responses to high-calorie food cues. Individuals with binge eating [BE], who exhibit heightened impulsivity and emotionality, may show a related but distinct pattern of irregular neural responses. However, few neuroimaging studies have compared BE and non-BE groups. To examine neural responses to food cues in BE, 10 women with BE and 10 women without BE (non-BE) who were matched for obesity (5 obese and 5 lean in each group) underwent fMRI scanning during presentation of visual (picture) and auditory (spoken word) cues representing high energy density (ED) foods, low-ED foods, and non-foods. We then compared regional brain activation in BE vs. non-BE groups for high-ED vs. low-ED foods. To explore differences in functional connectivity, we also compared psychophysiologic interactions [PPI] with dorsal anterior cingulate cortex [dACC] for BE vs. non-BE groups. Region of interest (ROI) analyses revealed that the BE group showed more activation than the non-BE group in the dACC, with no activation differences in the striatum or orbitofrontal cortex [OFC]. Exploratory PPI analyses revealed a trend towards greater functional connectivity with dACC in the insula, cerebellum, and supramarginal gyrus in the BE vs. non-BE group. Our results suggest that women with BE show hyper-responsivity in the dACC as well as increased coupling with other brain regions when presented with high-ED cues. These differences are independent of body weight, and appear to be associated with the BE phenotype.


Conflict processing; Dietary restraint; Food cue reactivity; Food reward; Neuroimaging

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