Research Seminar: “The Science Behind Sugar Addiction: Links to Obesity and Overeating”
Nicole Avena, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Visiting Professor of Psychology
Obesity is the second leading preventable cause of death, with rates continuing to rise. Studies suggest that there are common brain systems that underlie eating and addiction, and we hypothesize that overeating of sugar can lead to an addiction-like state characterized by bingeing, withdrawal, craving and other DSM-V criteria for substance dependence. This presentation will review data from animal models and clinical studies that suggest overeating of sugar and highly processed foods can lead to behaviors that are similar to those seen with addiction to drugs of abuse. Also, addiction-like alterations in the dopamine, opioid and cholinergic systems are noted in response to overeating sugar.
About the Speaker
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction. She is Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Visiting Professor of Health Psychology at Princeton University. She received her PhD in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University, and completed her postdoctoral training in molecular biology at Rockefeller University. Her research achievements have been honored by several groups including the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Michael Goran, PhD
Director, Program for Diabetes and Obesity
The Saban Research Institute
The Dr. Robert C. & Veronica Atkins Chair in Childhood Obesity & Diabetes
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Professor of Pediatrics
Keck School of Medicine of USC
Lunch will be provided to seminar guests; first come, first served
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