A new study from the researchers of the University of Turku, Finland, has found that the brain reveals the risk of developing obesity, according to Science Daily.
The study, conducted at Finnish Turku PET Center, explained that obesity risk factors of family background are associated with changes in the brain function, suggesting that the function of your neural networks regulating satiety and appetite is altered already before you develop obesity.
Globally, obesity is one of the increasing public health concerns, needing new interventions to prevent and treat obesity.
In obesity, there are changes in brain insulin sensitivity and neurotransmitter function, which is why there is increased appetite and overeating.
Study author Tatu Kantonen said, “However, thus far it has not been determined whether these changes are visible in the brain already before a person develops obesity and if these changes would increase the risk for future obesity.”
He looked at more than 40 young men with a varying number of obesity risk factors and investigated changes in the brain in pre-obesity by studying the insulin, opioid, and cannabinoid function through PET imaging.
Kantonen found that family-related risk factors such as parents’ obesity or diabetes were associated with altered insulin signaling in the brain. He also found that it was associated with reduced function of the opioid and cannabinoid systems.
“Disturbance in the neural networks controlling satiation and appetite can therefore be observed already before a person develops obesity, and these brain changes are connected to family-related risk factors of obesity,” Kantonen explained.
“The results may have implications for the development of prevention and treatment interventions for obesity,” he added. “They show that the brain and central nervous system are important targets in the treatment of obesity.”