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Dopamine signaling and overeating

Striatal dopamine D2-like receptor correlation patterns with human obesity and opportunistic eating behavior.

Study under review: Striatal dopamine D2-like receptor correlation patterns with human obesity and opportunistic eating behavior

Introduction

Science and technology have provided us with more accessible, abundant, and inexpensive food options than humanity has had at any time in the past. Smells, advertisements, and pictures of calorie-dense “hyperpalatable” (often junk) food regularly assault us during our daily lives, keeping food at the forefront of our minds.

Constant exposure to this food-centric environment is likely to be, in part, responsible for the growing obesity epidemic. But these factors apply to everyone, so why isn’t everyone obese? Why are some people more susceptible to suggested eating habits in our modern food culture? It’s possible that some people are hard-wired for overeating, or develop altered brain signaling over time.

A recent study examined individual variation in the dopamine neurocircuitry of both obese and lean people to see if it was related to the person’s propensity for opportunistic eating.

The nitty-gritty

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What does the study tell us?

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The big picture

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What should I know?

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Other Articles in Issue #01 (November 2014)