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Tasteless the food was “liking” the brain

Невкусная еда оказалась "по нраву" мозгу

Neuroscientists from Yale University discovered neural circuits responsible for pleasure from a delicious food, as well as for assessing the nutritional value of food. A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Many animals, choosing between nutritious food with an unpleasant taste and a delicious, but non-nutrient food, prefer the first, because energy ensures their survival. Scientists decided to find out what parts of the brain are responsible for this choice.

The researchers conducted a series of experiments with mice and found that the pleasure that animals get from food, and the estimation of its caloric content and nutritional value associated with the activity of neurons in the striatum — a subcortical part of the brain and the main part of the basal ganglia.

For each food features controlled by different neural circuits. The lower part of the striatum (ventral striatum) is involved in perception of pleasure or evaluation of reward from food with a sweet taste, while the upper (dorsal striatum) in determining nutritional value.

In their study, the researchers determined the degree of activity of dopamine — neurotransmitter that causes the feeling of pleasure, in the striatum of mice brain in animal feeding sweet food with calories or without. The results showed that the amount of dopamine synthesized in the ventral striatum increased in both cases. However, when high-calorie foods were added bitter substance, more dopamine in the dorsal striatum, and ventral to it decreased.

It turned out that even tasteless food is causing in certain parts of the brain “feeling of pleasure”, if it is nutritious.

Previously, scientists from Columbia University are using light to affect the neural pathways of the brain of mice, including in animals the sensation of sweet and bitter tastes, even if the rodents were drinking plain water.

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