Pilot test of a novel food response and attention training treatment for obesity: Brain imaging data suggest actions shape valuation.
Behaviour Research and Therapy
Reason for embargo
Elevated brain reward and attention region response, and weaker inhibitory region response to high-calorie food images have been found to predict future weight gain. These findings suggest that an intervention that reduces reward and attention region response and increases inhibitory control region response to such foods might reduce overeating. We conducted a randomized pilot experiment that tested the hypothesis that a multi-faceted food response and attention training with personalized high- and low-calorie food images would produce changes in behavioral and neural responses to food images and body fat compared to a control training with non-food images among community-recruited overweight/obese adults. Compared to changes observed in controls, completing the intervention was associated with significant reductions in reward and attention region response to high-calorie food images (Mean Cohen's d = 1.54), behavioral evidence of learning, reductions in palatability ratings and monetary valuation of high-calorie foods (p = 0.009, d's = 0.92), and greater body fat loss over a 4-week period (p = 0.009, d = 0.90), though body fat effects were not significant by 6-month follow-up. Results suggest that this multifaceted response and attention training intervention was associated with reduced reward and attention region responsivity to food cues, and a reduction in body fat. Because this implicit training treatment is both easy and inexpensive to deliver, and does not require top-down executive control that is necessary for negative energy balance obesity treatment, it may prove useful in treating obesity if future studies can determine how to create more enduring effects.
National Institutes of Health grant DK-080760 supported this study. The National Institutes of Health had no role in the study design, collection, interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication. The authors thank the Lewis Center for Neuroimaging at the University of Oregon for their assistance with the fMRI scans.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 94, July 2017, pp. 60 - 70
Place of publication