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Sleepiness During The Day Affects The Ability To Control Food Intake – Study

June 13, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
A study by Harvard Medical School researchers has found an association between daytime sleepiness and the ability of the brain to regulate eating. Twelve healthy men and women, ages 19 to 45, underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as they looked at pictures of high-calorie foods, low-calorie foods and control images of plants and rocks. All were also measured on a sleepiness scale. Results showed that greater daytime sleepiness was linked to decreased activation in the prefrontal cortex – a brain region important to inhibitory processing – when participants viewed the pictures of enticing, high-calorie food images. "Given the chronic level of sleep restriction in our society, such relationships could have epidemiologic implications regarding the current increase in obesity in westernized countries," one researcher said.
William Killgore, Ph.D., et al., "Sleepiness May Impair the Brains Inhibitory Control When Viewing High Calorie Foods", Press release and presenation at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC meeting, June 13, 2011, © APSS
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