Reproducibility assessment of brain responses to visual food stimuli in adults with overweight and obesity

Academic Article


  • Objective: The brain's reward system influences ingestive behavior and subsequently obesity risk. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a common method for investigating brain reward function. This study sought to assess the reproducibility of fasting-state brain responses to visual food stimuli using BOLD fMRI. Methods: A priori brain regions of interest included bilateral insula, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, caudate, and putamen. Fasting-state fMRI and appetite assessments were completed by 28 women (n = 16) and men (n = 12) with overweight or obesity on 2 days. Reproducibility was assessed by comparing mean fasting-state brain responses and measuring test-retest reliability of these responses on the two testing days. Results: Mean fasting-state brain responses on day 2 were reduced compared with day 1 in the left insula and right amygdala, but mean day 1 and day 2 responses were not different in the other regions of interest. With the exception of the left orbitofrontal cortex response (fair reliability), test-retest reliabilities of brain responses were poor or unreliable. Conclusions: fMRI-measured responses to visual food cues in adults with overweight or obesity show relatively good mean-level reproducibility but considerable within-subject variability. Poor test-retest reliability reduces the likelihood of observing true correlations and increases the necessary sample sizes for studies.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Obesity  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Drew Sayer R; Tamer GG; Chen N; Tregellas JR; Cornier MA; Kareken DA; Talavage TM; McCrory MA; Campbell WW
  • Start Page

  • 2057
  • End Page

  • 2063
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 10