Food and Behaviour Research

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Altered salience network connectivity predicts macronutrient intake after sleep deprivation.

Fang Z, Spaeth AM, Ma N, Zhu S, Hu S, Goel N, Detre JA, Dinges DF, Rao H (2015) Sci Rep.  doi: 10.1038/srep08215. 

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Although insufficient sleep is a well-recognized risk factor for overeating and weight gain, the neural mechanisms underlying increased caloric (particularly fat) intake after sleep deprivation remain unclear. Here we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and examined brainconnectivity changes associated with macronutrient intake after one night of total sleep deprivation (TSD). Compared to the day following baselinesleep, healthy adults consumed a greater percentage of calories from fat and a lower percentage of calories from carbohydrates during the day following TSD. Subjects also exhibited increased brain connectivity in the salience network from the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) to bilateral putamen and bilateral anterior insula (aINS) after TSD. Moreover, dACC-putamen and dACC-aINS connectivity correlated with increased fat and decreased carbohydrate intake during the day following TSD, but not during the day following baseline sleep. These findings provide a potential neural mechanism by which sleep loss leads to increased fat intake.