Background: Children with obesity show differences in brain structure, executive function and appetitive traits when compared to lean peers. Results of imaging studies, however, have been contradictory.
Objective and hypotheses: To investigate whether childhood obesity is associated with differences in brain structure and whether differences associate with executive function and appetitive traits.
Method: A cross-sectional case-control study among 23 obese and 19 lean control subjects, aged 1216 years, was conducted. Brain structures were measured by MRI using cortical thickness and subcortical volumes. Appetitive traits were measured by the Child Eating Behavior Questionnaire and executive function by a Stop Signal Task and a Choice Delay Task. Associations between brain structures and appetitive traits or executive function tests were investigated using linear regression analysis.
Results: Obese adolescents had larger volumes of the pallidum; 1.78 ml (SE 0.03, P=0.014), when compared to controls; 1.65 ml (SE 0.02). In the obese group, increased pallidal volume was positively associated with the ability to delay reward in the Choice Delay Task (P=0.012).
Conclusion: The positive association of pallidal volumes and Choice Delay Task found in obese adolescents supports the hypothesis that the pallidum plays an important role in executive dysfunction described in obese children.
10 - 12 Sep 2016
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology