Blame game doesn't help obese patients, researchers find

Doctors should be more understanding when it comes to obese patients and their lack of success, according to a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center obesity researchers.

Kevin Niswender, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine and & Biophysics, is two years into a line of basic research that indicates the challenges overweight and obese persons face are really similar to those faced by people with drug addictions.

“People with substance abuse problems have changes in certain parts of the brain and this causes them to continue to use substances and to increase their substance use in order to feel normal, or to have that sense of pleasure that people would get otherwise from healthier activities,” he said.

“Our idea is that people who have similar behaviors with regard to eating may be more predisposed to the development of obesity because they don't experience that sense of reward or pleasure that an individual should feel from eating a more balanced meal."

Niswender is teaming with Malcolm Avison, Ph.D., professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, and translational nutrition scientist Heidi Silver, Ph.D., R.D., on a new study designed to investigate the effects of , which is used for treatment of diabetes mellitus, on energy balance, body composition, brain function and other risk factors for cardiometabolic disease.

The study will compare how a weight loss diet, with or without a newer type of insulin, affects areas of the brain's dopamine system that are involved in food intake and the sense of pleasure people get from eating.

“This line of basic science research is really opening up a new way of thinking about the problems of and overeating,” Niswender said.

“We think now that when one overeats, insulin has a different function. Insulin acts on those areas of the brain where dopamine normally functions to decrease the reward aspect of food intake, thereby helping to limit food intake.

“It is likely that this novel function of insulin is compromised in obese people.”

Provided by Vanderbilt Medical Center

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Medicare hospital fund to last 4 years longer

54 minutes ago

(AP)—The government says Medicare's finances have improved. The program's hospital trust fund won't be exhausted until 2030—four years later than last year's estimate.

Green spaces found to increase birth weight

1 hour ago

Mothers who live near green spaces deliver babies with significantly higher birth weights, according to a new study, "Green Spaces and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes" published in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Me ...

Gender inequalities in health: A matter of policies

5 hours ago

A new study of the European project SOPHIE has evaluated the relationship between the type of family policies and gender inequalities in health in Europe. The results show that countries with traditional family policies (central ...

User comments