DOI: 10.1101/475020Nov 24, 2018Paper

Unhealthy Yet Avoidable - How Cognitive Bias Modification Alters Behavioral And Brain Responses To Food Cues In Obesity

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Nora MehlAnnette Horstmann


Objective: Obesity is associated with automatically approaching problematic stimuli, such as unhealthy food. Cognitive bias modification (CBM) could beneficially impact on problematic approach behavior. However, it is unclear which mechanisms are targeted by CBM in obesity: Candidate mechanisms include (1) altering reward value of food stimuli or (2) strengthening inhibitory abilities. Methods: 33 obese people completed either CBM or sham training during fMRI scanning. CBM consisted of an implicit training to approach healthy and avoid unhealthy foods. Results: At baseline, approach tendencies towards food were present in all participants. Avoiding vs. approaching food was associated with higher activity in the right angular gyrus (rAG). CBM resulted in a diminished approach bias towards unhealthy food, decreased activation in the rAG, and increased activation in the anterior cingulate cortex. Relatedly, functional connectivity between the rAG and right superior frontal gyrus increased. Analysis of brain connectivity during rest revealed training-related connectivity changes of the inferior frontal gyrus and bilateral middle frontal gyri. Conclusion: Taken together, CBM strengthens avoidance tendencies when faced with unhealthy...Continue Reading

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