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Obesity and Brain: Focus on Eating Behavior

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2022) | Viewed by 10509

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Obesity is a long-term multifactorial chronic disease, characterized by an energy imbalance due to excess caloric intake compared to energy expenditure and deregulation of other metabolic parameters, such as an altered lipid profile, increased insulin resistance and a chronic proinflammatory state. The severity of obesity-related diseases is closely related to visceral adiposity. As a metabolically active organ, VAT communicates with other central and peripheral organs by synthesizing and secreting a number of molecules, generally referred to as adipokines. In obesity, there is also an imbalance in the production of important central nervous system mediators. Among these, Orexin-A/Hypocretin1 has a key role in the development of obesity. It is a neuropeptide synthesized in the lateral hypothalamus and plays an important role in the regulation of eating behavior, metabolic rate and energy expenditure.

Additionally, many findings showed that obesity represents an additional risk factor for developing brain illnesses such as cognitive impairments and psychopathological disorders. It is still unknown how obesity and brain functioning could be linked, and the process by which body fat independently injures cognitive abilities and psychological wellbeing remains unclear. To establish the independent role of obesity in cognitive abilities and mental health, it is essential to clarify the role played by several factors and understand their interaction.

Prof. Dr. Rita Polito
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • obesity
  • eating behavior
  • central nervous system (CNS)
  • orexin-A
  • adipokines
  • metabolic syndrome
  • psychological wellbeing
  • healthy lifestyle
  • caloric restriction
  • visceral adipose tissue (VAT).

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 1645 KiB  
Article
Executive Function-Related Improvements on a Commercial CBT-Based Weight Management Intervention: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
by Andreas Michaelides, Ellen Siobhan Mitchell, Heather Behr, Annabell Suh Ho, Grant Hanada, Jihye Lee and Sue McPartland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8763; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148763 - 19 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Executive functioning is a key component involved in many of the processes necessary for effective weight management behavior change (e.g., setting goals). Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and third-wave CBT (e.g., mindfulness) are considered first-line treatments for obesity, but it is unknown to what [...] Read more.
Executive functioning is a key component involved in many of the processes necessary for effective weight management behavior change (e.g., setting goals). Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and third-wave CBT (e.g., mindfulness) are considered first-line treatments for obesity, but it is unknown to what extent they can improve or sustain executive functioning in a generalized weight management intervention. This pilot randomized controlled trial examined if a CBT-based generalized weight management intervention would affect executive functioning and executive function-related brain activity in individuals with obesity or overweight. Participants were randomized to an intervention condition (N = 24) that received the Noom Weight program or to a control group (N = 26) receiving weekly educational newsletters. EEG measurements were taken during Flanker, Stroop, and N-back tasks at baseline and months 1 through 4. After 4 months, the intervention condition evidenced greater accuracy over time on the Flanker and Stroop tasks and, to a lesser extent, neural markers of executive function compared to the control group. The intervention condition also lost more weight than controls (−7.1 pounds vs. +1.0 pounds). Given mixed evidence on whether weight management interventions, particularly CBT-based weight management interventions, are associated with changes in markers of executive function, this pilot study contributes preliminary evidence that a multicomponent CBT-based weight management intervention (i.e., that which provides both support for weight management and is based on CBT) can help individuals sustain executive function over 4 months compared to controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Brain: Focus on Eating Behavior)
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10 pages, 1173 KiB  
Article
Heart Rate Variability and Sympathetic Activity Is Modulated by Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet
by Rita Polito, Anna Valenzano, Vincenzo Monda, Giuseppe Cibelli, Marcellino Monda, Giovanni Messina, Ines Villano and Antonietta Messina
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042253 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3399
Abstract
Obesity is characterized by an energy imbalance and by the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue. The energy balance is controlled by a complex set of balanced physiological systems that provide hunger and satiety signals to the brain and regulate the body’s ability to [...] Read more.
Obesity is characterized by an energy imbalance and by the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue. The energy balance is controlled by a complex set of balanced physiological systems that provide hunger and satiety signals to the brain and regulate the body’s ability to consume energy. The central nervous system controls the metabolic state, influencing the activity of other systems and receiving information from them. Heart rate variability (HRV) is the natural variability of the heart rate in response to several factors. HRV is related to the interaction between the SNS and the parasympathetic. In the light of this evidence, the aim of this study is to investigate the possible effects of the two different dietary regimens such as very low-calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD) vs. low caloric diet (LCD), on the functions of the nervous system, with particular attention to the autonomous control of heart rate variability (HRV). A total of 26 obese subjects underwent diet therapy in order to reduce body weight; they were also randomly divided into two groups: the VLCKD group and the LCD group. Our results showed that in both groups, there is a reduction in heart rate as an indicator of sympathetic activity; we found a statistically significant variation only in the VLCKD group. Therefore, this study supports the notion that the sympathovagal balance can be modulated by a specific diet, but further studies are needed to clarify the molecular pathway undergoing this modulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Brain: Focus on Eating Behavior)
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Review

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18 pages, 1328 KiB  
Review
Physiological Role of Orexinergic System for Health
by Ines Villano, Marco La Marra, Girolamo Di Maio, Vincenzo Monda, Sergio Chieffi, Ezia Guatteo, Giovanni Messina, Fiorenzo Moscatelli, Marcellino Monda and Antonietta Messina
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8353; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148353 - 8 Jul 2022
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3358
Abstract
Orexins, or hypocretins, are excitatory neuropeptides involved in the regulation of feeding behavior and the sleep and wakefulness states. Since their discovery, several lines of evidence have highlighted that orexin neurons regulate a great range of physiological functions, giving it the definition of [...] Read more.
Orexins, or hypocretins, are excitatory neuropeptides involved in the regulation of feeding behavior and the sleep and wakefulness states. Since their discovery, several lines of evidence have highlighted that orexin neurons regulate a great range of physiological functions, giving it the definition of a multitasking system. In the present review, we firstly describe the mechanisms underlining the orexin system and their interactions with the central nervous system (CNS). Then, the system’s involvement in goal-directed behaviors, sleep/wakefulness state regulation, feeding behavior and energy homeostasis, reward system, and aging and neurodegenerative diseases are described. Advanced evidence suggests that the orexin system is crucial for regulating many physiological functions and could represent a promising target for therapeutical approaches to obesity, drug addiction, and emotional stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Brain: Focus on Eating Behavior)
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