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.

Public Health Relevance

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.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01CA152062-03
Application #
8449701
Study Section
Risk, Prevention and Intervention for Addictions Study Section (RPIA)
Program Officer
Patrick, Heather A
Project Start
2011-04-01
Project End
2016-03-31
Budget Start
2013-04-01
Budget End
2014-03-31
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$356,110
Indirect Cost
$90,066
Name
University of Southern California
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
072933393
City
Los Angeles
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
90089
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Ames, Susan L; Wong, Savio W; Bechara, Antoine et al. (2014) Neural correlates of a Go/NoGo task with alcohol stimuli in light and heavy young drinkers. Behav Brain Res 274:382-9
Yan, Wan-Sen; Li, Yong-Hui; Xiao, Lin et al. (2014) Working memory and affective decision-making in addiction: a neurocognitive comparison between heroin addicts, pathological gamblers and healthy controls. Drug Alcohol Depend 134:194-200
He, Qinghua; Xiao, Lin; Xue, Gui et al. (2014) Poor ability to resist tempting calorie rich food is linked to altered balance between neural systems involved in urge and self-control. Nutr J 13:92
Ames, Susan L; Kisbu-Sakarya, Yasemin; Reynolds, Kim D et al. (2014) Inhibitory control effects in adolescent binge eating and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks. Appetite 81:180-92
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Ames, Susan L; Grenard, Jerry L; Stacy, Alan W et al. (2013) Functional imaging of implicit marijuana associations during performance on an Implicit Association Test (IAT). Behav Brain Res 256:494-502
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Xue, Gui; He, Qinghua; Lu, Zhong-Lin et al. (2013) Agency modulates the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex responses in belief-based decision making. PLoS One 8:e65274
Koritzky, Gilly; He, Qinghua; Xue, Gui et al. (2013) Processing of time within the prefrontal cortex: recent time engages posterior areas whereas distant time engages anterior areas. Neuroimage 72:280-6

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