ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Add your Article

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.