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Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01CA152062-03 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Bechara, Antoine
Organization: University Of Southern California
Project Title: Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Decisions and Impulse Control in Nutrition Behavior
Fiscal Year: 2013
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Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This project seeks to identify key neural pathways responsible for one's loss of ability to self-control and exert willpower when faced with tempting choices such as drugs. However, given the impracticality of using drugs in a population of adolescents, we will use food cues as a model to examine how calorie-rich food impacts activity within these neural systems. Three key neural systems are hypothesized to contribute to the loss of willpower to resist food, and these same neural systems have been implicated in the willpower to resist drugs: (1) a hyperactive amygdala-striatal (dopamine-dependent) neural system, which promotes cue-induced habitual behaviors; (2) a hypoactive prefrontal cortex neural system, which subserves decision-making and impulse control capacities; and (3) an altered insular cortex function, which responds to homeostatic and interoceptive signals triggered by states of deprivation, or by exposure to environmental cues that elicit craving. The insula translates these interoceptive signals into what subjectively become experienced as an urge, which in turn acts to (1) exacerbate the hypersensivity of the amygdala-striatal system, and (2) weaken the inhibitory function of the prefrontal system. Using BOLD functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques, we will test the hypothesis that high behavioral measures of consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar, as measured by the Youth/Adolescent Questionnaire (YAQ), will correlate with (1) increased activity in an amygdala-striatal neural system that promotes habitual and impulsive behaviors, and (2) decreased activity in a prefrontal cortex system for decision-making and inhibitory control. We will also test the hypothesis that food deprivation induces an increased activation of the insular cortex with the consequence of exacerbating activity of the habit system, and weakening activity of the prefrontal system. The proposed research is of high public health significance as it advances knowledge for creating novel intervention strategies that are transferrable to the prevention of substance abuse. In particular, the current project is also relevant to cancer prevention as it advances knowledge that promotes healthier eating, avert compulsive eating, and reduce cancer risk behaviors.

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Publications

Working memory and affective decision-making in addiction: a neurocognitive comparison between heroin addicts, pathological gamblers and healthy controls.
Authors: Yan WS, Li YH, Xiao L, Zhu N, Bechara A, Sui N
Source: Drug Alcohol Depend, 2014 Jan 1;134, p. 194-200.
EPub date: 2013 Oct 5.
PMID: 24268669
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Gray and white matter structures in the midcingulate cortex region contribute to body mass index in Chinese young adults.
Authors: He Q, Chen C, Dong Q, Xue G, Chen C, Lu ZL, Bechara A
Source: Brain Struct Funct, 2013 Oct 22;null, p. null.
EPub date: 2013 Oct 22.
PMID: 24146133
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The cognitive processes underlying affective decision-making predicting adolescent smoking behaviors in a longitudinal study.
Authors: Xiao L, Koritzky G, Johnson CA, Bechara A
Source: Front Psychol, 2013;4, p. 685.
EPub date: 2013 Oct 1.
PMID: 24101911
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Functional imaging of implicit marijuana associations during performance on an Implicit Association Test (IAT).
Authors: L Ames S, Grenard JL, W Stacy A, Xiao L, He Q, Wong SW, Xue G, W Wiers R, Bechara A
Source: Behav Brain Res, 2013 Nov 1;256, p. 494-502.
EPub date: 2013 Sep 9.
PMID: 24029699
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Agency modulates the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex responses in belief-based decision making.
Authors: Xue G, He Q, Lu ZL, Levin IP, Dong Q, Bechara A
Source: PLoS One, 2013;8(6), p. e65274.
EPub date: 2013 Jun 6.
PMID: 23762332
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Is there a recovery of decision-making function after frontal lobe damage? A study using alternative versions of the Iowa Gambling Task.
Authors: Xiao L, Wood SM, Denburg NL, Moreno GL, Hernandez M, Bechara A
Source: J Clin Exp Neuropsychol, 2013;35(5), p. 518-29.
EPub date: 2013 May 24.
PMID: 23701308
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A neurocognitive approach to understanding the neurobiology of addiction.
Authors: NoŽl X, Brevers D, Bechara A
Source: Curr Opin Neurobiol, 2013 Aug;23(4), p. 632-8.
EPub date: 2013 Feb 8.
PMID: 23395462
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Processing counterfactual and hypothetical conditionals: an fMRI investigation.
Authors: Kulakova E, Aichhorn M, Schurz M, Kronbichler M, Perner J
Source: Neuroimage, 2013 May 15;72, p. 265-71.
EPub date: 2013 Feb 4.
PMID: 23380169
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Processing of time within the prefrontal cortex: recent time engages posterior areas whereas distant time engages anterior areas.
Authors: Koritzky G, He Q, Xue G, Wong S, Xiao L, Bechara A
Source: Neuroimage, 2013 May 15;72, p. 280-6.
EPub date: 2013 Feb 4.
PMID: 23380168
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COMT Val158Met polymorphism interacts with stressful life events and parental warmth to influence decision making.
Authors: He Q, Xue G, Chen C, Lu ZL, Chen C, Lei X, Liu Y, Li J, Zhu B, Moyzis RK, Dong Q, Bechara A
Source: Sci Rep, 2012;2, p. 677.
EPub date: 2012 Sep 20.
PMID: 22997551
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Smoking cessation after brain damage does not lead to increased depression: implications for understanding the psychiatric complications of varenicline.
Authors: Tranel D, McNutt A, Bechara A
Source: Cogn Behav Neurol, 2012 Mar;25(1), p. 16-24.
PMID: 22330182
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Poor decision making among older adults is related to elevated levels of neuroticism.
Authors: Denburg NL, Weller JA, Yamada TH, Shivapour DM, Kaup AR, LaLoggia A, Cole CA, Tranel D, Bechara A
Source: Ann Behav Med, 2009 Apr;37(2), p. 164-72.
EPub date: 2009 Apr 7.
PMID: 19350336
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