Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Aging Neurosci., 27 November 2013 | doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2013.00077

Drive for consumption, craving, and connectivity in the visual cortex during the imagery of desired food

  • 1Department of Radiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
  • 2Translational Science Center, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
  • 3Department of Mathematics, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
  • 4Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
  • 5Department of Geriatric Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

There is considerable interest in understanding food cravings given the obesogenic environment of Western Society. In this paper we examine how the imagery of palatable foods affects cravings and functional connectivity in the visual cortex for people who differ on the power of food scale (PFS). Fourteen older, overweight/obese adults came to our laboratory on two different occasions. Both times they ate a controlled breakfast meal and then were restricted from eating for 2.5 h prior to scanning. On 1 day they consumed a BOOST® liquid meal after the period of food restriction, whereas on the other day they only consumed water (NO BOOST® condition). After these manipulations, they had an fMRI scan in which they were asked to image both neutral objects and their favorite snack foods; they also completed visual analog scales for craving, hunger, and the vividness of the imagery experiences. Irrespective of the BOOST® manipulation, we observed marked increases in food cravings when older, overweight/obese adults created images of favorite foods in their minds as opposed to creating an image of neutral objects; however, the increase in food craving following the imagery of desired food was more pronounced among those scoring high than low on the PFS. Furthermore, local efficiency within the visual cortex when imaging desired food was higher for those scoring high as compared to low on the PFS. The active imagery of desired foods seemed to have overpowered the BOOST® manipulation when evaluating connectivity in the visual cortex.

Keywords: food craving, network science, visual cortex, power of food scale, older adults

Citation: Bullins J, Laurienti PJ, Morgan AR, Norris J, Paolini BM and Rejeski WJ (2013) Drive for consumption, craving, and connectivity in the visual cortex during the imagery of desired food. Front. Aging Neurosci. 5:77. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2013.00077

Received: 02 September 2013; Accepted: 03 November 2013;
Published online: 27 November 2013.

Edited by:

Rakez Kayed, The University of Texas Medical Branch, USA

Reviewed by:

Rajalaxmi Natarajan, The University of Texas Medical Branch, USA
Jonathan Hommel, The University of Texas Medical Branch, USA

Copyright © 2013 Bullins, Laurienti, Morgan, Norris, Paolini and Rejeski. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: W. Jack Rejeski, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Wake Forest University, Box 7868, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA e-mail: rejeski@wfu.edu

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