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Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
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Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
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Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
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ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
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Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
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Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
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Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
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Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Freckles, Moles May Indicate Risk for Eye Cancer
EYE CARE, VISION
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns

(HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that people who have successfully lost weight will activate certain parts of their brains when confronted with images of food.

While preliminary, the findings indicate that those who shed pounds -- and keep them off -- tap into regions of the brain related to control over urges.

"It may be that they actually recruit new brain regions to help with their weight loss," said study author Jeanne McCaffery, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School, in Providence, R.I.

McCaffery and her colleagues wanted to understand how people react to "food cues" -- in this case, photos of food. "People make decisions about whether or not they're going to eat food, and that decision-making usually comes when they first smell or see the food," she said.

The researchers recruited several groups of participants: 18 people of normal weight, 16 fat people and 17 people who had successfully shed weight -- at least 30 pounds from their maximum weight -- and kept it off for at least three years.

The participants underwent brain scans as they looked at pictures of high-calorie and low-calorie foods. The MRI scans revealed that those who had successfully lost weight showed more activity in the parts of the brain that are associated with inhibition and in dealing with complex tasks, McCaffery said.

Those of normal weight didn't show this pattern. This may be because "they've been of normal weight all of their lifetime. The successful weight losers have to put in more effort to avoid eating foods or to control their response to food."

The findings appear in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Ian McDonald, a professor of metabolic physiology who wrote a commentary accompanying the study, said questions remain.

For one, did the people who lost weight begin to have this brain response when they started shedding pounds or later? "Similarly, are the obese different from the non-obese because of an intrinsic difference or as a result of the inappropriate eating which has led to their obesity?" asked McDonald, a researcher at the University of Nottingham Medical School in England.

In other words, does inappropriate eating by heavy people lead to differences in the way their brains work when they look at food?

Also, McDonald said, future research needs to figure out what the differences in brain activity mean for the choices people make. "Similar measurements need to be made before, during and after weight loss," he noted.

For now, McCaffery said the researchers would like to understand better how the brain works in people who have lost weight successfully.

In the future, she said, it's possible that "we'll be able to teach other people how to do that."

SOURCES: Jeanne McCaffery, Ph.D., assistant professor, psychiatry and human behavior, Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital, Providence, R.I.; Ian McDonald, researcher, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom; October 2009, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.