Visualizing the neural mechanisms behind eating behavior

Shereen Chaudhry

Shereen Chaudhry

Eating behavior is complex, and the neural mechanisms behind this behavior are elusive. There are various neuroscientific theories within this field of research but consensus among scientists is not clear. This has led to a dearth of visual illustrations. As a researcher of this topic, I find that figures not only help me understand current theories, but also move my own thoughts and ideas forward. While working on my own project, one idea I began to notice increasing agreement on was that eating behavior results from the merging of two circuits in the brain: the hedonic circuit and the homeostatic circuit. In a 2006 Nature paper by Gregory Morton and colleagues, authors presented a figure based on (what appears to be) a rat brain to visually describe the integration of the hedonic and homestatic circuits. To help others (and myself) visualize how this process may be taking place in humans, I adapted this visual concept to the human brain.

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