Differences in the structure of the prefrontal cortex predict an individual's ability to make healthier food choices, according to a new analysis of previous research in healthy men and women. The paper, published in JNeurosci, suggests an important role of these anatomical markers in decisions that have long-term effects on health and wellbeing.
Maintaining a healthy diet requires consistently choosing healthy foods over perhaps more tempting ones that may satisfy an immediate craving but have negative health consequences. People vary in their ability to exercise such self-control, which has been linked to individual differences in real-time brain activity. In this study, Liane Schmidt and colleagues examined whether more stable differences in the anatomy of the brain could account for variations in self-control.
Analyzing data pooled from three previous studies and generalizing their results to a fourth independent dataset, the researchers found that greater volume in the dorsolateral and ventromedial prefrontal cortex was associated with improved dietary self-control across different diet goals and participant groups. Since brain structure, like connectivity, can change over time in response to lifestyle, these brain regions represent key targets to explore in the design of interventions that promote healthy choices.
Article: Neuroanatomy of the vmPFC and dlPFC predicts individual differences in cognitive regulation during dietary self-control across regulation strategies
Corresponding author: Liane Schmidt (Institute du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France), firstname.lastname@example.org
JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.
About The Society for Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.