Scientists Predict Weight Gain and Sexual Activity by Peeking at the Brain (Time)

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Dartmouth scientists have published the results of a new study that uses brain scans to predict future weight gain and sexual activity. A Time article written by Alexandra Sifferlin features the details and results of the study.

While undergoing brain scans, research subjects were shown images of appetizing food, the environment, animals, and people. During the scans, the researchers examined the area of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, often referred to as  the “reward center.” According to the study, the research subjects who responded more strongly to the food cues during the brain scans were the ones who gained more weight during the six months following the scan. A correlation between strong brain responses to sexual images and activity was also reported.

As the article points out, the researchers hope that the study will provide insights into the understanding of self-control. William Kelley, a senior author of the study and an associate professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences, told Time, “Knowing certain cues are affecting you can make you more aware of them, and perhaps you can use your self-regulation system to keep things in check.”

Read the full story, published 4/18/12 by Time.