Translational Neuroscience: Responsivity Training for Obesity Treatment
Obesity causes 300,000 US deaths yearly, but most treatments do not result in lasting weight loss. Most weight loss programs rely on willpower, prolonged caloric deprivation, and expensive clinicians to deliver, and fail to produce sustained weight loss. Stice and his team have developed a computer-based program to train the brain's reward region to decrease its response to images and intake of high-caloric foods. Previous studies of an individual's brain response to high-caloric food images/cues show that those with higher reward region response coupled with lower inhibitory region response show elevated future weight gain.
If this computer-based response training intervention produces sustained body fat loss in overweight individuals, it could be easily implemented very broadly at almost no expense, addressing a leading public health problem.