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Neuroanatomical correlates of food addiction symptoms and body mass index in the general population

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Beyer,  Frauke
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Collaborative Research Center Obesity Mechanisms, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Garcia-Garcia,  Isabel
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada;

Heinrich,  Matthias
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schroeter,  Matthias L.
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Sacher,  Julia
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Witte,  A. Veronica
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Collaborative Research Center Obesity Mechanisms, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Citation

Beyer, F., Garcia-Garcia, I., Heinrich, M., Schroeter, M. L., Sacher, J., Luck, T., et al. (2019). Neuroanatomical correlates of food addiction symptoms and body mass index in the general population. Human Brain Mapping. doi:10.1002/hbm.24557.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-2C85-6
Abstract
The food addiction model suggests neurobiological similarities between substance-related and addictive disorders and obesity. While structural brain differences have been consistently reported in these conditions, little is known about the neuroanatomical correlates of food addiction. We therefore aimed to determine whether symptoms of food addiction related to body mass index (BMI), personality, and brain structure in a large population-based sample. Participants of the LIFE-Adult study (n = 625; 20–59 years old, 45% women) answered the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) and further personality measures, underwent anthropometric assessments and high-resolution 3T-neuroimaging. A higher YFAS symptom score correlated with higher BMI, eating behavior traits, neuroticism, and stress. Higher BMI predicted significantly lower thickness of (pre)frontal, temporal and occipital cortex and increased volume of left nucleus accumbens. In a whole-brain analysis, YFAS symptom score was not associated with significant differences in cortical thickness or subcortical gray matter volumes. A hypothesis-driven Bayes factor analysis suggested a small, additional contribution of YFAS symptom score to lower right lateral orbitofrontal cortex thickness over the effect of BMI. Our study indicates that symptoms of food addiction do not account for the major part of the structural brain differences associated with BMI in the general population. Yet, symptoms of food addiction might explain additional variance in orbitofrontal cortex, a hub area of the reward network. Longitudinal studies implementing both anatomical and functional MRI could further disentangle the neural mechanisms of addictive eating behaviors.