Feeling depressed? Then eating food may not sound so great.

According to new research, there is a brain circuit that connects the “feeding and the mood centers of the brain,” (“Brain circuit”, 2019).

While individuals who suffer from depression often overeat, or do not eat enough, psychologists are still working to find what triggers either or of these behaviors (“Brain circuit”, 2019).

To explore this, researchers utilized mouse models that were depressed and put them under constant stress – these mice lost weight and their overall appetites. They then analyzed the neural circuits causing this reaction.

“‘We found that POMC Neurons in the hypothalamus, which are essential for regulating body weight and feeding behavior, extend physical connections into another region of the brain that has numerous dopamine neurons that are implicated to regulate mood…’” stated Dr. Yong Xu, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine (“Brain circuit”, 2019).

After further analyzing the data, it was discovered that when under chronic stress, neurons that regulate the metabolism fire a circuit that ends at neurons that regulate mood, thus inhibiting dopamine and the desire to eat.

While one circuit has been found for inhibiting the drive to eat, researchers are still exploring what circuits could give stressed and depressed individuals an intense craving to eat. Overeating is also a reaction to stress, but the neural circuitry behind it is still being researched (“Brain circuit”, 2019).

Research: Baylor College of Medicine. (2019, September 4). Brain circuit connects feeding and mood in response to stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 8, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190904213722.htm

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