October 22, 2008 Functional MRI establishes link between brain receptor activation and obesity Kathryn Madden, science administrator, Oregon Research Institute Using brain imaging and chocolate milkshakes, scientists have found that women with weakened "reward circuitry" in their brains are at increased risk of weight gain over time and potential obesity. The risk increases even more for women who also have a gene associated with compromised dopamine signaling in the brain. The results, drawn from two studies using functional MRI at the University of Oregon's Lewis Center for Neuroimaging, appear in the Oct. 17 issue of the journal Science. The first-of-its-kind approach unveiled blunted activation in the brain's dorsal stratium, which may reflect less-than-normal dopamine output, when subjects were given milkshakes.
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