Unhealthy eating behaviors and obesity are primarily driven by the brain, and the consequences of elevated adiposity on overall health, including 20% increased risk for early death, are significant, particularly during midlife and late-life. Women have twice the rate of severe obesity, and postmenopausal women exhibit the highest rate of obesity, greater than any other age group among women or men.
In the Division of Women’s Health, researchers utilize functional neuroimaging and neuroendocrine assessment to define brain-behavior relationships in conditions associated with disordered eating and metabolism, chronic stress, and anhedonia. Our researchers integrate these tools with weight loss treatment approaches to identify how neural circuitry involved in food motivation, cognitive control, and mood regulation promotes successful long-term weight loss and weight loss maintenance.
The goal of our work is to ameliorate the negative health outcomes of these conditions through identifying modifiable neurobiological targets that drive appetite, mood-related eating behaviors and cognition, and weight change.
To learn more about this work, visit Dr. Laura Holsen’s research website.