Neural Mechanisms of Eating Behaviour

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  • Neural Mechanisms In Eating Behaviour.
    • Homeostasis
      • Detects the state of the internal environment and corrects it.
      • Receptors that detect nutrient levels have insufficient data to 'turn off' eating.
      • Hunger increases as glucose levels decrease.
        • This triggers the lateral hypothalamus which produces feelings of hunger.
          • This leads to people eating and causes their glucose to rise.
            • a rise in glucose levels triggers the ventro medial hypothalamus which produces feelings of satiation.
              • This then inhibits further eating.
    • Lateral Hypothalamus
      • Damage to the lateral hypothalamus causes aphagia which is absense of eating (in rats)
        • Produces obesity in rats within a few days (Stanley et al)
      • Stimulation to the lateral hypothalamus elicits feeding behaviour.
        • Researchers believed they had found the 'on switch'
      • Researchers found a neurotransmitter in the hypothalamus called Neuropeptide Y
        • when injected into rats, it caused them to immediately begin feeding, even when satiated (Wickens)
    • Ventromedial Hypothalamus
      • Damage to ventromedial hypothalamus caused rats to overeat, this was known as hyperphagia.
      • Stimulation to the ventromedial hypothalamus inhibited feeding.
      • Damage to the nerve fibres passing through the ventromedial hypothalamus causes damage to the paraventricular nucleas.
        • Researchers now believe damage to this alone causes hyperphagia
          • Paraventricular Nuclease is responsible for food cravings.


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