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Influences of Prolonged Fasting on Behavioral and Brain Patterns

  • Silvia Papalini
  • Mark Berthold-Losleben
  • Nils KohnEmail author
Living reference work entry

Abstract

Brain functioning requires glucose utilization; however, glucose is a limited resource for the organism, by depending mainly on our food consumption. Prolonged fasting can inevitably reduce the amount of glucose necessary to maintain neuronal activities and therefore, can negatively affect cognitive processes. To date, fasting for esthetical reasons or for unhealthy habits are the common behaviors that lead to low blood glucose levels; however, their effects on brain functioning, such as memory processes, attention levels, and self-control are still poorly investigated. The present work wants to summarize some of the most recent evidences on prolonged fasting effects on brain functioning and attempts to integrate these evidences in a recent model of self-regulation. Additionally, the consequences of low blood glucose levels on neuronal activities (fMRI) are described and discussed from the practical and clinical point of view. Overall, prolonged fasting and subsequent low blood glucose levels seem to decrease self-regulation abilities and negatively affect the attentional system. These results suggest that glucose levels need to be taken in account in fMRI protocols and monitored in circumstances where brain functioning is already compromised, such as in dementia and psychiatric conditions.

Keywords

Blood glucose Cognitive functions Fasting Functional connectivity Mood induction Resting state Visual stimulation Working memory 

List of Abbreviations

ATP

Adenosin triphosphate

BGL

Blood glucose levels

BOLD

Blood-oxygenation level dependent

CBF

Cerebral blood flow

CBV

Cerebral blood volume

CMRglu

Cerebral glucose consumption

CMRO2

Cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen

CPT

Continuous performance test

DMN

Default mode network

fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging

HRF

Hemodynamic response function

ICA

Independent component analysis

pACC

Pregenual anterior cingulate cortex

PCC

Posterior cingulate cortex

PET

Positron emission tomography

V1

Primary visual cortex

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvia Papalini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark Berthold-Losleben
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nils Kohn
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department for Cognitive Neuroscience, RadboudumcDonders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN), Radboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.NijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.St. Olavs HospitalTrondheim University Hospital, Orkdal District Psychiatric CentreTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.OrkangerNorway

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