According to the results, the brains of obese children were found to have different features from those of normal-weight or overweight children. The researchers analyzed images of the brains of 230 children aged 8-12 years (volunteers in the BREATHE study led by ISGlobal), using techniques developed by the Hospital del Mar team and determined that two areas of the brain were altered and hyperexcited.
The affected regions were the orbitofrontal cortex and the amygdala, the centres that regulate reward and punishment sensations and their relationship to the part of the brain that regulates basic needs, such as food and emotions, and the somatosensory cortex, where the brain represents body image.
The hyperexcitement of these areas of the brain causes permanent anxiety in obese children and, at the same time, alters and magnifies their perception of their own body.
The researchers noted that the study does not reach a conclusion on whether obesity causes the brain alterations or the alterations cause overweight and obesity.
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