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Stress Eating Explained Through Appetite Controlling Brain Circuits [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 23, 2017 10:47 AM EDT

Appetite-controlling brain circuits were placed inside laboratory mice to be able to discover how stress can affect appetite and eating patterns. How the brain controls the appetite and other neuro-related functions that affect a person's emotions were also observed during the study, to explain stress eating and how it can be managed.

For this new study, experts used optogenetics to be able to study the interactions between the different types of neurons in the central amygdala. They also tried to identify the neural circuity that runs across the basolateral region of the brains as well as the central areas of the amygdala. The amygdala is a small almond-shaped region of the brain that controls emotions. It is also where emotions, behavior, and motivation coordinates, Medical News Today cited.

The emotions that are controlled by the amygdala plays a significant role in survival. It also triggers emotional responses, with stress eating as one of these responses. Further results of the study also revealed that the amygdala functions for reward-related behaviors. It controls whether a person will response positively or negatively towards a stimulus.

Stress eating is often attributed as an emotional response towards an untowardly or negative emotion a person encounters. This study helped in understanding how the central amygdala or a part of the human brain promotes or suppress reward-oriented behavior. Neurons characterized in the study also showed ways on how to prevent and boost stress eating behaviors driven by negative emotions, Daily Mail UK reported.

The new study also suggests that such neurons found inside the human brain can play key roles in controlling defensive behavior while other neurons play a crucial role in sending out triggers for drinking and eating. The circuitry structure of the brain drives defensive responses to triggers in the environment, such as fear, that is most of the time, found to be responsible for regulating appetitive behaviors.


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