Junk food attracts a man when he is sleepy


17/06/2011

To refuse a tempting piece of chocolate cake can be much more difficult if you are half asleep, as the results of a new study. The analysis found that sleepiness is associated with reduced activity in areas of the brain responsible for controlling behavior, or "install brakes" in your actions, according to study researcher William Killgore (William Killgore), a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

When viewing images with the high calorie junk food, in the analysis of carotid participants observed lower levels of activity in this brain region, told Killgore. "Sleepy man differs weak system of brakes, in a sense," - said Killgore. "Less active work in these areas means that you can not use your brake system effectively enough" - he said.

Details are reminded that a person less able to stop a lot of it is, being able asleep than when he arrives in a cheerful frame of mind after a full sleep, as the researchers noted. The results are important in light of the current obesity epidemic in America, two-thirds of the population suffer from either overweight or obese by the strong.

However, the analysis does not consider eating a sleepy people are much more in fact, than people in the waking state. In future studies, scientists’ attention will be focused on these issues.

Seductive food

Killgore and colleagues scanned the brains of 12 healthy men and women aged 19 to 45 years, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants viewed images with these types of high-calorie foods such as ice cream and cheeseburgers, and low-calorie foods, such as salads and fruits, as well as images of plants and rocks.

Participants were also submitted to a questionnaire by which they were asked to rate their degree of drowsiness during the day. The researchers saw a link between the assessment of the degree of sleepiness and reduced activity in a specific area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex when participants considered high-calorie foods.

"When you’re sleepy, your brain is not functioning as efficiently and you are more likely to have things that you should not have" - said Killgore. Participants with high scores of sleepiness also felt hungrier and considered junk food more attractive than participants with lower self-ratings of sleepiness, as reported by Killgore.

Weight gain and brain

The work "really interesting" and corresponds to previous reports, identified in the study of brain activity and controlling weight, as noted by Kathryn Demos (Kathryn Demos), a researcher at Brown Medical School in Providence. People who have reduced weight, was marked by increased activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, compared with obese individuals, as reported by the Demos. This indicates that this region of the brain plays an important role in self-control.

However, more research is needed to establish a strong link between sleep and obesity. The analysis was presented June 13 at the general meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Research Society of sleep in Minneapolis.

Original: LiveScience Translation: M. Potter


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