Decreased insular and increased midbrain activations during decision-making under risk in adolescents with excess weight

Authors

  • Elena Delgado-Rico,

    1. Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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  • Carles Soriano-Mas,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital-IDIBELL, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Carlos III Health Institute, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM), Madrid, Spain
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  • Juan Verdejo-Román,

    1. Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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  • Jacqueline S. Río-Valle,

    1. Department of Nursing, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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  • Antonio Verdejo-García

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Neurosciences Federico Olóriz, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
    2. School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    • Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
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  • Disclosures: The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

  • Funding agencies: This study has been funded by grants PI 0416/2008 (BRAINOBE) from the Andalusian Health Service (Consejería de Salud), PSI2010-17290 (INTEROBE) from the Ministry of Innovation and Science (MICINN), and P-10-HUM-6635 (NEUROECOBE). Dr. Soriano-Más is funded by a Miguel Servet contract from the Carlos III Health Institute (CP10/00604).

Correspondence: Antonio Verdejo-García (antonio.verdejo@monash.edu or averdejo@ugr.es)

Abstract

Objective

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to explore the brain substrates of decisions under risk in excess weight adolescents. Decreased activations of the brain regions signaling risk (orbitofrontal cortex [OFC], insula) were expected during anticipation of higher rewards and increased activations of the brain regions involved in reward processing (OFC, striatum) were expected after reward receipt in excess weight adolescents compared to normal weight controls.

Design and Methods

Fifty-two adolescents (age range 12-17), classified in three groups as a function of BMI: obese (n = 21), overweight (n = 15), or normal weight (n = 16) performed the Risky-Gains task as described by Paulus et al. in the fMRI scanner.

Results

Excess weight adolescents, compared to normal weight controls, showed decreased left insular and increased midbrain activations during anticipation of risky choices. In addition, excess weight adolescents showed increased activations of the inferior frontal gyrus, parahippocampus, thalamus, and posterior brain regions after reward receipt.

Conclusions

Adolescents with excess weight showed reduced activations in brain regions signaling risk and increased activations in regions signaling reward during anticipation of decisions involving risk and reward. In addition, post-decision reward outcomes produced increased activations of regions involved in emotional salience in excess weight adolescents versus controls.

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