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The Effect of a Meal on Brain Activation in Reward Pathways

18 Years
50 Years
Not Enrolling
The Focus of This Study is to Determine Whether the Change in Brain Response to Visual Food Cues With Food Intake is a Marker of Satiety.

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Trial Information

The Effect of a Meal on Brain Activation in Reward Pathways

Potential subjects will participate in a short phone screening interview and if eligible,
will come to the University of Washington hospital 2 times. At the first health screening
visit, we will go over the subjects' medical history, weight and height, and eating habits.
This visit will take an hour or so and eligible subjects will then schedule the study visit.
For the study visit, subjects will have to fast overnight from 9:30 pm the night before and
arrive at the hospital at 8:00am. At 8:30 am, the subject will have a 30 minute MRI scan of
the brain done in the University of Washington Radiology Department. During the MRI scan
they will see pictures of common objects and foods and be asked to remember the photos they
saw. At 9 am subjects will eat a standard breakfast, and they will not eat again until after
the second MRI. The time of their second MRI will be randomly assigned to one of seven time
points anywhere from 15 minutes to 5 hours after the breakfast. After the MRI, subjects will
be allowed to eat freely from food we provide. Subjects will receive $10 for the health
screening visit, and $50-85 depending on the length of the visit.

Inclusion Criteria:

1. Age 18-50

2. Body mass index (BMI) 18.5-24.9 kg/m2

- Age and weight are restricted because of known changes in appetite and satiety
with aging and changes in body weight.

Exclusion Criteria:

1. Current dieting for weight loss or restrained eating

2. History of eating disorders, prior obesity, or weight loss surgery

3. Chronic health conditions, including diabetes

4. Use of medications that alter appetite (e.g., atypical anti-psychotics)

5. Pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives of estrogen replacement

6. Participation in other studies that might affect appetite or body weight

7. Recreational drug use or alcohol use of >2 drinks per day

8. Food allergies to study foods or inability to taste

9. Current smoker

10. Any contraindications to MRI such as implanted metal of claustrophobia

- Current dieting, restrained eating, eating disorders, prior weight loss surgery,
diabetes, chronic disease (e.g., cardiovascular disease, cancer), and estrogen
use are restricted or excluded due to documented influences on the hormones of
interest. Smokers and regular alcohol users are excluded consistent with prior
studies of appetite regulation.

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Observational Model: Case Control, Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional

Outcome Measure:

BOLD response as measured by brain fMRI during viewing of food photographs

Outcome Description:

To determine whether the change in brain response (as captured by MRI) to visual food cues with food intake is a marker of satiety. We hypothesize that consumption of a meal will reduce brain activation by food cues and that these reductions will be temporally associated with both subjective and objective measures of satiety.

Outcome Time Frame:

We will randomly assign subjects to one of 7 timepoints for a post-meal brain MRI - 15, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, or 300 minutes after their breakfast.

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Ellen Schur, MD, MS

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

Assistant Professor


United States: Institutional Review Board

Study ID:




Start Date:

April 2010

Completion Date:

June 2011

Related Keywords:

  • The Focus of This Study is to Determine Whether the Change in Brain Response to Visual Food Cues With Food Intake is a Marker of Satiety.



University of Washington Medical Center Seattle, Washington  98195-6043