Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Health Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Neuroscience, Physiology, Sensation-Perception, Sensory-Perceptual Development.

Description: The standard introductory psychology account of how our systems maintains consistent levels of food intake used to involve a couple of components. The first involves close areas within the hypothalamus which seem to be implicated in appetite regulation. The most dramatic data involved rats who had one or the other of these areas surgically cut with the result being either hyperphagic (eating all the time) or hypophagic (never seem hungry) rats. The other levels of explanation include systemic factors such as cyclical calorie reduction due to dieting or famine leading to big increases in efficiency in processing what food is eaten (and thus no or little weight loss in repeated dieting efforts). The most recent factor suggested that the brain, by tracking levels of various hormones circulating in the blood, monitors the general condition of our fat cells which suggested that individual fat cells could “complain” about a lack of nutritive input. Recent research takes this a big step further suggesting that our brains are not just passively monitoring the condition of our fat cells but are actively engaged in surveying and communicating with our fat cells as part of our sensory system activity. Have a read through the linked article that talks about this new work and think a bit about what intervention opportunities might arise from it.

Source: Scientists eavesdrop on communication between fat and brain, ScienceDaily, Science News.

Date: August 31, 2022

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, while the information about how such things work was a bit thin in the linked article, the suggestion was that the rate of fat burning in the body may be regulated by the sport of homeostatic (oppositional) system that is used to regulate things like body temperature or thirst. Perhaps if the rate of fat burning could be slightly increased weight reduction might follow (or being warmer in winter). Maybe too simple an application? Yes, maybe, certainly more research is needed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How do our body’s regulate out levels of food intake?
  2. What does the linked article tell us that is new?
  3. What sorts of the possible applications (interventions) might arise from this work and what else would we need to know (research) before trying them out?

References (Read Further):

Yu Wang, Verina H. Leung, Yunxiao Zhang, Victoria S. Nudell, Meaghan Loud, M. Rocio Servin-Vences, Dong Yang, Kristina Wang, Maria Dolores Moya-Garzon, Veronica L. Li, Jonathan Z. Long, Ardem Patapoutian, Li Ye. (2022) The role of somatosensory innervation of adipose tissues. Nature. Link

Cypess, A. M., & Kahn, C. R. (2010). Brown fat as a therapy for obesity and diabetes. Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity, 17(2), 143. Link

Contreras, C., Gonzalez, F., Fernø, J., Diéguez, C., Rahmouni, K., Nogueiras, R., & López, M. (2015). The brain and brown fat. Annals of medicine, 47(2), 150-168. Link

Reddy, N. L., Tan, B. K., Barber, T. M., & Randeva, H. S. (2014). Brown adipose tissue: endocrine determinants of function and therapeutic manipulation as a novel treatment strategy for obesity. BMC obesity, 1(1), 1-12. Link

Kim, S. H., & Plutzky, J. (2016). Brown fat and browning for the treatment of obesity and related metabolic disorders. Diabetes & metabolism journal, 40(1), 12-21. Link