Brain Regulation of Appetite in Twins (BRAT)

The goal of this study is to learn more about the regulation of appetite, in order to better understand how the central nervous system regulates appetite and food consumption.

This study required both members of the twin pair to come to the University of Washington Medical Center together for one eight-hour visit.  Blood samples were collected over the course of the 8-hour visit.  Participants were also be asked to complete questionnaires, have a DEXA scan (a type of x-ray), and have MRI scans.

Initial results from the study showed that body mass index (BMI) was highly correlated within twin pairs. Twin pairs were also similar in meal-induced changes in hunger, fullness, and appeal of fattening foods. These findings suggest that there is a genetic component to satiety perception (fullness after eating) and the effect of a meal in altering regional brain responses to images of food.

Another finding showed that anxiety in women may promote excess calorie consumption, placing women with a genetic predisposition to weight gain at a risk of obesity.