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Interactions between neural decision-making circuits predict long-term dietary treatment success in obesity.

Authors

  • M. Weygandt
  • J. Spranger
  • V. Leupelt
  • L. Maurer
  • T. Bobbert
  • K. Mai
  • J.D. Haynes

Journal

  • NeuroImage

Citation

  • Neuroimage 184: 520-534

Abstract

  • Although dietary decision-making is regulated by multiple interacting neural controllers, their impact on dietary treatment success in obesity has only been investigated individually. Here, we used fMRI to test how well interactions between the Pavlovian system (automatically triggering urges of consumption after food cue exposure) and the goal-directed system (considering long-term consequences of food decisions) predict future dietary success achieved in 39 months. Activity of the Pavlovian system was measured with a cue-reactivity task by comparing perception of food versus control pictures, activity of the goal-directed system with a food-specific delay discounting paradigm. Both tasks were applied in 30 individuals with obesity up to five times: Before a 12-week diet, immediately thereafter, and at three annual follow-up visits. Brain activity was analyzed in two steps. In the first, we searched for areas involved in Pavlovian processes and goal-directed control across the 39-month study period with voxel-wise linear mixed-effects (LME) analyses. In the second, we computed network parameters reflecting the covariation of longitudinal voxel activity (i.e. principal components) in the regions identified in the first step and used them to predict body mass changes across the 39 months with LME models. Network analyses testing the link of dietary success with activity of the individual systems as reference found a moderate negative link to Pavlovian activity primarily in left hippocampus and a moderate positive association to goal-directed activity primarily in right inferior parietal gyrus. A cross-paradigm network analysis that integrated activity measured in both tasks revealed a strong positive link for interactions between visual Pavlovian areas and goal-directed decision-making regions mainly located in right insular cortex. We conclude that adaptation of food cue processing resources to goal-directed control activity is an important prerequisite of sustained dietary weight loss, presumably since the latter activity can modulate Pavlovian urges triggered by frequent cue exposure in everyday life.


DOI

doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.09.058