Neural reactivity to visual food stimuli is reduced in some areas of the brain during evening hours compared to morning hours: an fMRI study in women
- 1.9k Downloads
The extent that neural responsiveness to visual food stimuli is influenced by time of day is not well examined. Using a crossover design, 15 healthy women were scanned using fMRI while presented with low- and high-energy pictures of food, once in the morning (6:30–8:30 am) and once in the evening (5:00–7:00 pm). Diets were identical on both days of the fMRI scans and were verified using weighed food records. Visual analog scales were used to record subjective perception of hunger and preoccupation with food prior to each fMRI scan. Six areas of the brain showed lower activation in the evening to both high- and low-energy foods, including structures in reward pathways (P < 0.05). Nine brain regions showed significantly higher activation for high-energy foods compared to low-energy foods (P < 0.05). High-energy food stimuli tended to produce greater fMRI responses than low-energy food stimuli in specific areas of the brain, regardless of time of day. However, evening scans showed a lower response to both low- and high-energy food pictures in some areas of the brain. Subjectively, participants reported no difference in hunger by time of day (F = 1.84, P = 0.19), but reported they could eat more (F = 4.83, P = 0.04) and were more preoccupied with thoughts of food (F = 5.51, P = 0.03) in the evening compared to the morning. These data underscore the role that time of day may have on neural responses to food stimuli. These results may also have clinical implications for fMRI measurement in order to prevent a time of day bias.
KeywordsVisual stimuli Food Neural reactivity fMRI Time Morning Evening
TDM, CBK, LED, and JDL designed research; TDM and CBK conducted research; TDM, CBK, and JDL analyzed data; TDM, CBK, LED and JDL wrote the paper; TDM had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki declaration of 1975, and the applicable revisions at the time of the investigation. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
Conflict of interest
Travis Masterson, James D. LeCheminant, C. Brock Kirwan, and Lance E. Davidson state that they have no conflict of interested associated with this project.
- Holsen, L. M., Savage, C. R., Martin, L. E., Bruce, A. S., Lepping, R. J., Ko, E., & Goldstein, J. M. (2012). Importance of reward and prefrontal circuitry in hunger and satiety: Prader-Willi syndrome vs simple obesity. International Journal of Obesity, 36(5), 638–647. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.204.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Lacy, J. W., Yassa, M. A., Stark, S. M., Muftuler, L. T., & Stark, C. E. (2011). Distinct pattern separation related transfer functions in human CA3/dentate and CA1 revealed using high-resolution fMRI and variable mnemonic similarity. Learning & Memory, 18(1), 15–18. doi: 10.1101/lm.1971111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- LeCheminant, J. D., Christenson, E., Bailey, B. W., & Tucker, L. A. (2013). Restricting night-time eating reduces daily energy intake in healthy young men: a short-term cross-over study. British Journal of Nutrition, 1–6. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513001359
- Muranishi, M., Inokawa, H., Yamada, H., Ueda, Y., Matsumoto, N., Nakagawa, M., & Kimura, M. (2011). Inactivation of the putamen selectively impairs reward history-based action selection. Experimental Brain Research, 209(2), 235–246. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2545-y.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Rolls, E. T. (1999). The brain and emotion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Rothemund, Y., Preuschhof, C., Bohner, G., Bauknecht, H. C., Klingebiel, R., Flor, H., & Klapp, B. F. (2007). Differential activation of the dorsal striatum by high-calorie visual food stimuli in obese individuals. NeuroImage, 37(2), 410–421. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.05.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sweet, L. H., Hassenstab, J. J., McCaffery, J. M., Raynor, H. A., Bond, D. S., Demos, K. E., & Wing, R. R. (2012). Brain response to food stimulation in obese, normal weight, and successful weight loss maintainers. Obesity (Silver Spring), 20(11), 2220–2225. doi: 10.1038/oby.2012.125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Talairach, J., & Tournoux, P. (1988). Co-planar stereotaxic atlas of the human brain: 3-dimensional proportional system : an approach to cerebral imaging. Stuttgart: Georg Thieme.Google Scholar
- Yassa, M. A., Lacy, J. W., Stark, S. M., Albert, M. S., Gallagher, M., & Stark, C. E. (2011). Pattern separation deficits associated with increased hippocampal CA3 and dentate gyrus activity in nondemented older adults. Hippocampus, 21(9), 968–979. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20808.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar