“Impulsiveness is the devil”, but impulsive control is the key to regulating behavior, and impulsiveness can quickly lead to negative consequences in many cases. The sudden skyrocketing dietary desire has caused you to lose weight for nearly a week in a day.
Looking at the endless stream of “not thin x pounds without changing your avatar” in your circle of friends, you may not have imagined that our overeating is so real It’s a brain problem.
A new study recently identified specific circuits in the brain that alter food impulsivity, which opens up the possibility that scientists may one day develop treatments for overeating. The discovery was recently published in the journal Nature communications.
The neurotransmitter-regulated pathway of melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is the focus of this study. Researchers have noticed MCH many years ago, and initial research revolved around its role in controlling skin pigmentation. However, in the past few decades, in research on various animal models, MCH-producing neurons have been able to regulate the feeding behavior of animals.
The researchers used a rat model to study the special effects of the MCH pathway on impulsivity. In the experiment, the rats learned to press the joystick that releases high-fat, high-sugar particles after being trained, but it takes 20 seconds between pressing the joystick twice. If the animal presses the joystick in advance, the timer Will reset and need to wait 20 seconds again.
The researchers then injected MHC into the rat’s skull to activate specific neural pathways in the hypothalamus- hippocampus. The results showed that the experimental animals would press the joystick more frequently before the 20-second waiting time elapsed, gradually becoming “uncontrollable”.
Emily Noble explains: “The underlying physiology in the brain is regulating your ability to refuse (impulsive eating).” “In an experimental model, you can activate the circuit and get a specific behavioral response. It was found that when MCH-producing cells in the brain are activated, animals become more impulsive around food. ”
Further testing has shown that the regulation of this particular MCH does not affect taste, appetite, or eating motivation. This means that the brain circuits may primarily affect inhibitory control in animals.
This particular way of activating MCH neurons can increase impulsive behavior without affecting normal eating due to calorie requirements or motivation to eat delicious food. This could drive the development of treatments for overeating and help people stick to their diet, rather than by reducing normal appetite or food quality.
At the same time, this discovery opens up new research avenues for other types of neuropsychological diseases related to impulsive control. They, therefore, hypothesized that if the MCH neural pathway can be pharmacologically regulated, not only for obesity and overeating, other related therapies for diseases related to impulsive behaviors such as addiction or gambling can be developed on this basis.