July 23, 2024

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The person’s brain had changed before becoming obese

The person’s brain had changed before becoming obese



The person’s brain had changed before becoming obese.

With economic development and improvement of living standards, obesity has become a major public health problem worldwide. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 2 billion people are overweight or obese in the world. From 1975 to 2016, the global obesity rate has nearly tripled. Every year, overweight or obesity causes 2.8 million deaths.


In fact, obesity is a disease. Obese people not only have inconvenience in life and decreased exercise capacity, but are also more susceptible to metabolic diseases and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. In addition, many studies have shown that obesity and more than a dozen types of cancer have an increased risk and prognosis. And the survival rate is reduced. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new interventions to prevent and treat obesity.


On November 2, 2021, researchers from the University of Turku in Finland published a research paper titled: Obesity risk is associated with altered cerebral glucose metabolism and decreased μ-opioid and CB1 receptor availability in the International Journal of Obesity.


The study shows that before a person becomes obese, the function of his brain’s neural network that regulates satiety and appetite has changed.


The person's brain had changed before becoming obese


Obesity is related to changes in brain insulin sensitivity and neurotransmitter function. These changes can explain increased appetite and overeating problems. However, so far, it has not been determined whether these changes are visible in the brain before a person is obese, and whether these changes will increase the risk of obesity in the future.


The research team used PET imaging (positron emission tomography) to study the functions of insulin, opioids and cannabinoids to understand the brain changes in the pre-obesity stage. Participants in the study included 41 young non-obese men with different obesity risk factors.


The results showed that participants with a higher risk of obesity (parents with obesity or type 2 diabetes) had changes in insulin signaling in their brains and an overall increase in insulin-stimulated brain glucose uptake. And the function of opioids and cannabinoid receptors is reduced. These results suggest that the genetic mechanism that promotes obesity may be partly mediated through the information system of insulin, opioids, and endocannabinoids in the brain.


The person's brain had changed before becoming obese

The influence of obesity risk factors on brain function. a) Family-related risk factors (parental obesity or type 2 diabetes) are related to changes in insulin signals in a wide range of brain regions of the participants.

A darker orange indicates a stronger association; b) Family-related risk factors (parental obesity) Or have type 2 diabetes) is related to the decreased availability of opioid receptors in the areas of the participants’ brains that produce pleasure, and lighter blue indicates a stronger association.

Tatu Kantonen, the corresponding author of the study, said these findings indicate that disorders of the brain’s neural network that controls satiety and appetite can be observed before a person is obese, and these brain changes are related to family-related obesity risk factors.

These results may have an impact on the development of obesity prevention and treatment interventions, indicating that the brain and central nervous system are important targets for the treatment of obesity.


In general, people who have clear risk factors for obesity (parental obesity or type 2 diabetes) but have not yet developed obesity, the insulin sensitivity of the brain and the signal of opioids and endocannabinoids have changed. The changes are similar to the changes in the brain of an already obese person.

These changes in the brain’s neural network emphasize the genetic and central-mediated mechanisms in the development of obesity. Disorders of these food intake regulation systems in the brain may lead to weight gain and obesity.





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The person’s brain had changed before becoming obese

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