Around 40% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 in Catalonia are overweight or obese. Now, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) have found alterations in areas of the brain related to behavior and the sensation of reward in these children.
The image, obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging by Jesús Pujol‘s team (IMIM), shows hyperarousal of the affected areas, which could cause obsessive thoughts around food, anxiety and behavior disorders.
Although it was not possible to define whether childhood obesity is caused by brain alterations or vice versa, what is clear, the authors of the paper comment, is that the study of the brain must be included in these cases for a better approach of the problem.
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Jesus Pujol, Laura Blanco-Hinojo, Gerard Martínez-Vilavella, Joan Deus, Víctor Pérez-Sola, Jordi Sunyer, Dysfunctional Brain Reward System in Child Obesity, Cerebral Cortex, 2021