Dr. Pretlow’s Obesity Week Presentation

The two references for this post are Dr. Pretlow’s recent talk at the Obesity Week conference in San Diego (audio recording) and the visual aspect, the poster illustrating and describing the basic concepts behind the question, “Should Obesity and Eating Addiction Be Reconceptualized as Displacement Behavior?”.

Why is the apparent food addiction that leads to obesity, like other addictions, so difficult to control? Because no matter what the problem, chances are that ingesting more substances, including food, will be inappropriate to the situation, and will go exactly 0% of the way toward alleviating it.

In the animal kingdom, if a bird is threatened with some kind of hostile situation and pauses to tidy its feathers, this displacement behavior might simply delay the necessity to choose between fight or flight. Or maybe the enemy will become bored or distracted, and move on. In either case, the decision to take a preening break might not do permanent harm.

On the other hand, if a student is unable to decide whether to show up for an exam or skip school, eating an entire pizza offers no possible benefit. Whether the choice ends up being fight or flight, or even staying up and studying all night, the person will likely still be heavier at their next weigh-in. Pizza consumption is, in other words, a maladaptive displacement behavior.

No surprise

It comes as no surprise that the conclusion drawn from the trials done so far by eHealth International of Seattle, Washington, and UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Program is,

Reconceptualization of obesity and eating addiction as displacement behavior may be warranted and treated accordingly.

In some cases, displacement behavior can be adaptive, though in many other cases, the opposite is true. As the poster says, “Sheep threatened by a predator will graze despite the danger.” People threatened by an unfaceable situation will eat, both the wrong stuff and a lot of it.

When such a conflict is underway, the conflicting impulses to follow two competing drives can build up “an overflow of mental energy that expresses itself in a third drive, in this case, feeding.” Once the brain has generated a lot of energy that has to go somewhere, then what?


Maybe, what comes along next is a sensory cue — the smell of baking pizza, or the sight of a bag of chips on the kitchen counter, or the voice of a TV huckster whose job is to convince the viewer that she or he cannot survive for another minute without a raft of peanut butter cups. “The displacement mechanism is triggered by sensory cues,” say Dr. Pretlow and coauthor Suzette Glasner, Ph.D.

And contemporary life is full of those cues. We can barely turn around without being confronted by the sight of food. In fact, we don’t even have to move. A perfectly stationary person can be beleaguered by cues that demand, “Think about eating!” Social media platforms are full of not only advertising, but the favorite recipes of our online friends, and photos of their brunch plates.

Broadcast media need advertising to pay their bills, and will bombard a person nonstop with reminders to chow down. We are constantly being cajoled. “Got a problem? Eat. Is somebody mad at you? Buy them something to eat. Do you want to be popular and beloved? Bring food. Are you sad because bringing food didn’t make you popular after all? Eat more.”

In some quarters, the idea of intermittent fasting has caught on. If only we could have intermittent advertising, like maybe a 12-hour truce each day without any reminders of food. But the world doesn’t work like that.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: Robert Pretlow, M.D., Suzette Glasner, eHealth International of Seattle, WA, and UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program

Everything You Know About Journaling Is Wrong

A lot of people have a concept of journaling as something kind of lame, only suitable for crying over a lost love or cataloging the most recent insults offered by the world. But any writing down of thoughts and plans could technically be called journaling. And it really doesn’t matter if you tear up the paper when you’re done, or burn it, or lock it in a safe for some day when you write your memoir. The point right now is to look at journaling in light of the concepts embodied by BrainWeighve. As the app says, the excess brain energy that leads to behavior like overeating can be used for better purposes (see illustration):

The good news is that you can control your displacement mechanism, and your overeating will stop.

A winning strategy can be to rechannel that energy into other purposes, as many as you please, and journaling might as well be one of them. Deliberately redirect the overflow energy into developing the hand-brain connection through, for instance, journaling.

Incidentally, when the communication system between hand and brain is purposefully cultivated, the benefit just might overflow into other activities. For instance, for any musician, from violinist to drummer, that connection needs to be in tip-top condition. Your brain can know every note of a concerto, but it’s your fingers that have to hit the right strings. Your brain can devise the most intoxicating rhythm ever, and it’s a total waste if the fingers and hands can’t pick up the message and convey it to the listeners’ ears.

Your brain wants to work for your benefit

The point is, the hand has a direct line to the brain, and it runs both ways. When you write about how difficult it is to not grab everything on the buffet table, a message goes to the subconscious: “Take this seriously.” Later, when you’re at the actual event, the brain returns the favor by messaging, “Put that hand back in your pocket and keep walking.”

So now, you have the content to fill out one of the problem/solution portions of the BrainWeighve app. You can catalog it there for your own sake, a private plan, for the next time you’re in trouble. When you feel confident in a workable idea, you might at some point decide to share it with others in the same troubling situation. This 12-minute video also says some things about how to make decisions, and how to identify and shake off useless old beliefs. (Quite often those two are closely related.)

In another medium, certified hypnotherapist Laura Irwin wrote,

Journaling came into my life at a crossroads when I realized I was out of touch with many of my emotions and shoved them down to focus on the problem to be analyzed, but emotions are more complex than that. Journaling became a window into my inner life; a profound tool for self awareness. When you access and utilize the power of your subconscious, your subconscious mind and your conscious mind are in sync and begin working together to achieve a common goal.

Irwin outlines six different journaling techniques. One is to begin with sentence fragments which you go on to complete, such as “If I weren’t afraid, I would…” or “Eating healthier would be easier if…” Another is doodling, in specific ways and with a specific purpose. Taking a close, conscious look at your dreams is another. She also describes several different ways to initiate and conduct a dialogue with oneself, and sums up by listing the many benefits of journaling.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How to Reprogram Your Subconscious Through Journaling,” YouTube, 2020
Source: “6 Subconscious Journaling Techniques,” InspiredMeditations.com, 09/21/20

Teen People — Parallel Tracks Make a Smoother Ride

BrainWeighve has something in common with other effective programs. Additional techniques can be used along with the app’s suggestions, to strengthen and reinforce your intention. Childhood Obesity News has mentioned writing (or printing) by hand, and there is still more to consider about that.

Did you ever run into a problem, an obstacle between you and the goal you wanted or needed to complete? And then you switched frequencies, and did something completely different for a while, and put your mind on other things, and all of a sudden the answer just popped into your head?

Sometimes, all your brain needs is time to process the data in peace, and it will present you with a clear and workable solution. If you lost an important object, the subconscious might give you a dream that shows where the thing is. Your subconscious mind can be a powerful ally, and a lot of the time it is just hanging around waiting to be of service as your efficient intern. (Internal…. intern….. ha ha!)

Brain — listen up!

Apparently, it is possible to amp up that process by sending your inner self some clues about which parts of a crowded life really matter the most. Take the lost wallet, for instance. Sit yourself down and write or print, “I will find my wallet” 30 or 50 times. As we have seen, the hand and brain share a unique connection, and handwriting (or printing, or maybe even doodling) is a splendid way to let the subconscious know that you expect something from it.

The illustration on this page shows two of the places where collaboration between hand and brain and BrainWeighve can be useful. These are exactly the kinds of thoughts that “writing a letter to your brain” could help that gray blob to understand that you mean business. All day long, stuff flows in through the eyes and goes out through the thumbs pushing buttons. But when information comes in by an unusual method, like forming letters on paper with a pencil or pen — well, then the brain has to sit up and take notice.

More ways to enhance the BrainWeighve experience

Another way to create change, which is particularly useful to athletes, is “mental rehearsal.” In the eating realm, such rehearsals could consist of practicing, inside our own heads, various ways of saying no to the people in our lives. We can visualize being shown to a buffet table and saying, “It all looks great. Maybe later.” Or just, “No, thank you.” Try taking a walk alone and saying, “No, thank you,” in a pleasant but firm way, about a thousand times. At some point, it will just roll off the tongue.

Dr. Akshad Singi recommends micro-visualizing: In the evening, he uses a time calendar to set up the day’s schedule, and then in the morning, he visualizes it:

I’ll start writing an article at 7:30 AM. Then, I’ll get dressed up and reach the medicine outpatient department by 9:30 AM. After my duty is over, I’ll have lunch at 2 PM, followed by a nap at 3 PM. Then, I’ll go to the gym at 4…

Granted, this sounds unspeakably boring. Still, it may be worth trying, in preparation for a major athletic event, or when the crazy time comes of doing every possible thing to get into your chosen institution of higher learning. Or to back up your weight loss resolutions.

Bottom line: There are techniques that, used in conjunction with BrainWeighve, can supercharge the experience. You may have heard the expression, “Different strokes for different folks.” Different jokes, different cloaks, different pokes… Not everything works for everybody, so keep poking around until you find something that works for you, and ride it ’til the wheels fall off!

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “4 Unsexy One-Minute Habits That Save Me 30+ Hours Every Week,” BetterHumans.pub, 09/19/22

Use Your Brain to Save Your Body — 3

If you could gain a superpower like invisibility or seeing the future, would you take it and use it? Okay, this power isn’t quite as impressive, but it can really make a difference. It is obvious that the hand-brain alliance can be a powerful force in helping us train our brains to give up their old, obesity-enabling ways and jump to a new track.

Example: A group of non-Greek children were asked to learn letters of the Greek alphabet. Some printed the strange symbols by hand; some used keyboards. Later, they were asked if they had ever seen the letters before, and the hand-printing kids remembered a lot more than the typing kids. Reporters Daniel J. Plebanek and Karin H. James discovered,

[T]he brain learns letters that are written by hand much more quickly than those that are typed. It does not matter how you write — printing, cursive, abbreviations, it just matters that you write by hand.

Other research has shown that college students more thoroughly remember what the prof said if they take class notes by hand, instead of typing them.

You are the boss of it

Dr. Nicole LePera encourages changing the subconscious mind, which holds stubborn ideas about how to run your life. “Autopilot is gonna do what autopilot has always done.” Unless, of course, the brain’s owner takes it in hand and tells it what’s what. The subconscious mind is very impressionable, and rather than let it be impressed with every stray idea that we hear all day long, we can control that process and impress our minds with content that does us some good, instead.

One way to do this is through journaling, in the morning if possible, because it sets up expectations — no, more than that, it sets up intentions — for how the day will go. If you don’t know what to say, start with, “I am grateful for…” Or mention three personality traits you would like to develop. Practice putting energy into cultivating the hand-brain connection. Just as test-taking is “a skill that you can learn” (see illustration), thinking about your issues is also a learnable skill. Handwriting or printing about issues makes the brain sit up and take notice.

The depths of us

The conscious mind can usually tell the difference between what’s real and what you imagine. The subconscious operates differently. This often works against you, but it can be made to work for you instead. You can tell your brain that you’re not someone who snacks between meals, and after a while, it just might actually get busy carving new neural pathways. As the Compartmentalize screen says, “Your brain unconsciously works on the problem in the background…”

In other words, you can train your gray matter to create a “new normal” for yourself. Of course, no one instantly, automatically becomes a different person. It takes some patience, and repetitive, consistent effort. Part of that effort could include using previously established techniques along with the BrainWeighve app’s suggestions.

The hand and the brain were developed by evolution to work together, so we need to take advantage of that partnership. In this specific case, the suggestion is being made to combine the power of the hand-brain connection with the potential of the BrainWeighve phone application, because writing out your thoughts before entering them into your device could make a meaningful difference to how well everything turns out.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Why Handwriting is Good for Your Brain,” FrontiersIn.org, 04/06/22
Source: “How to Reprogram Your Subconscious Through Journaling,” YouTube, 2020

Use Your Brain to Save Your Body, 2

Author William Klemm, Ph.D., says:

There is a whole field of research known as “haptics,” which includes the interactions of touch, hand movements, and brain function. Cursive writing helps train the brain to integrate visual, and tactile information, and fine motor dexterity.

When learning cursive writing,

[T]he brain develops functional specialization that integrates both sensation, movement control, and thinking. Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of brain become co-activated during the learning of cursive writing… as opposed to typing or just visual practice.

In one research program, five-year-olds who had never done anything like this before were divided into groups that received different kinds of instruction on how to form letters. Dr. Klemm wrote,

In children who had practiced self-generated printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and “adult-like” than in those who had simply looked at letters. The brain’s “reading circuit” of linked regions that are activated during reading was activated during hand writing, but not during typing.

Whether in handwriting or printing, the brain has to do certain tasks that are simply not required when using a computer keyboard, and it turns out that those skills apply to more than just writing.

Many discoveries have been made over the past years. For Forbes.com, Nancy Olson reported

Handwriting increases neural activity in certain sections of the brain… the mere action of writing by hand unleashes creativity not easily accessed in any other way… Handwriting sharpens the brain and helps us learn… Apparently sequential hand movements, like those used in handwriting, activate large regions of the brain responsible for thinking, language, healing and working memory.

Olson interviewed neuroscientist Dr. Claudia Aguirre, who said,

Writing by hand is a powerful tool for learning, relaxation, creativity and connection…

What does this have to do with BrainWeighve? Everything. Because, what is the app for? To help us learn about ourselves. To help us relax, and not be stressed out over problems and challenges. To inspire creativity in the ways we handle these problems and challenges. To connect us with the strong and capable parts of ourselves. To heal the psychological bruises that lead us into destructive relationships with food.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Why Writing by Hand Could Make You Smarter,” SolarisPediatricTherapy.com, undated
Source: “Three Ways That Handwriting With A Pen Positively Affects Your Brain,” Forbes.com, 05/15/16
Image by Mandie S/CC BY 2.0

Use Your Brain to Save Your Body

To get the benefit from BrainWeighve, participants are invited to record their answers to a number of questions. It sounds like a test, but there is a major difference: here, you are the final authority, the only one who knows the answers. Today, anyway. But the point is, pretty soon you will come up with some new and more workable answers.

The process is a lot like a therapeutic tool we have already mentioned, journaling. Certain forms of journaling involve a person asking herself or himself questions, and answering them. This can be a very personal experience, which is just one reason why using your hand to write your responses first is probably a good idea. If you think about it for a couple of days and then decide to share your observations, it might take away any anxiety about “going public.”

For example

Take the Problem Solving screen (top of this page.) The first bullet point says, “Write down everything you know about the problem. Then write what you might do about it.” This is very much what journaling is about in many cases, which is why we point out the similarities. In today’s post, the subject is why it might be very advantageous to do this stuff by hand, at least for the first go. The hand and the brain want to work together.

Another screen asks about “rescue” plans, which you either have tried or will try. Maybe you are determined not to put on any pounds over the holidays, but feel you are being coerced into eating another helping of candied yams. How will you get out of this sticky situation? Or maybe you already went ahead and ate them. The prompt asks, “What will you do for damage control?” If you overate, “what was the main thing that was bothering you?” And when something like this happens again, what is your move?

Proven to work

The matters being pondered here are exactly what journaling is designed to deal with. For hundreds of years, people have written down their thoughts about the challenges of life, and they keep doing it because it gets results. Sometimes, the whole mess makes more sense to a person who takes the time to sit down first with pen and paper, undistracted by the presence of a phone.

No rule says you have to feed your thoughts into the private section of the app right away. And when you do, no rule says you have to share those thoughts with others, either. You still have the option of sharing them at any time, with the hope that it might help someone else fight their demons. And others have already opted to share their hints and strategies with you, which is why the link to “I need ideas” appears on that screen three times.

A fair question

Now, where do we get these high-and-mighty ideas about the power of writing thoughts by hand? First, let’s clear up one thing. That can mean printing, too. Although cursive handwriting works a little better for this kind of task, printing works too — and far, far more effectively than typing the letters. Who says?

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Yes, Journaling — Continued

As innovative genius Buckminster Fuller said,

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You cannot change how someone thinks, but you can give them a tool to use which will lead them to think differently.

Childhood Obesity News has already mentioned the complicity between the hand and the brain, and their ability to collaborate in a very useful way. Writing your journal entries by hand activates regions of the brain that are not touched by keyboarding, and changes the whole cognitive process. Information becomes fully processed and absorbed, in a way that typing on a device and looking at a screen just can’t accomplish. Since ancient times, putting something in writing lends it gravitas; it signifies importance. To put it in writing is how you make a contract with another person, or — especially — with yourself.

An effective combo

Some people who work from a daily to-do list find it very useful to write it out by hand, and even to copy over the unfinished items onto a fresh list for the next day. This concept can carry over to the BrainWeighve app, when it asks you to make a plan. One example would be your plans for handling the upcoming winter holidays. (See illustration.)

Journal writing can be combined with the various BrainWeighve concepts, to various extents. Maybe do the writing part separately, and use that time to really explore the nooks and crannies of your own brain. Then, reduce that message down to a few cogent points and transfer those into the app. Whatever your conclusions are, you can keep them to yourself, or share them. Maybe some people are not comfortable with loading so much information into an app, but writing by hand feels more secure, and can be kept private according to your wishes.

Or don’t even go that far

A person who isn’t ready to make the full leap into journaling about personal matters might practice using the hand-brain connection in a more general way. For instance, it might be useful to sit down and write out the serenity prayer a few times. It might help to take your favorite affirmation, like “I am a survivor,” or “Life is an adventure,” or “I got this!” and write it a hundred times. It doesn’t matter what you do with the paper afterward. Tear it up or burn it. The important part, communicating to the brain that you mean business, is done.

Bottom line

The whole point here is to acknowledge and resist the brain’s tendency to “reboot” itself back to a familiar and comfortable mindset. Don’t let it! The more comprehensive a program is, the more parts of it will find people who are particularly helped by that part. The opposite is also true. Some life hacks will not suit everybody. Journaling is an excellent recommendation because, for starters, it’s free, and in the current economic climate, that’s not nothin’.

Because you probably have ideas that will help other people, BrainWeighve encourages sharing — but it’s not required. When journaling by hand, the heavy work can be done inconspicuously, if you don’t wish to share, or if you prefer to wait a bit before sharing your ideas and results. As always, every idea does not work for every unique, individual person. Still, many approaches work for a lot of people, and journaling is one of them.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “R. Buckminster Fuller Quote, AZQuotes.com, undated

Yes, Journaling

The text on the BrainWeighve screen titled “Brain Hunger” (shown above) says,

Energy builds up in your brain to do something… This energy overflows and your brain re-channels the overflow energy into another behavior like nail biting or overeating… This re-channeling can temporarily calm your distress, but it doesn’t solve the underlying situation.

One reason why success is only partial is the brain’s elasticity. If you don’t remind it frequently that you want it to adopt new ways, it tends to relapse into its accustomed state. In writing about obesity and the brain, previously quoted source Dan Hurley consulted neurosurgeon Donald M. Whiting, who said,

The brain is really pretty smart. It tends to want to reboot to factory settings whenever it can. We find that we can reset things for a week or two, but then the brain gets back to where it wants.

As we have seen, the “factory settings” around food are 1) eat whenever you have a chance because you don’t know when you will find food again, and 2) retain every ounce of body fat that you are able to, because you need it to produce energy, and the nights are cold. These default instructions date back two or three hundred thousand years. But while in the modern world many people are still severely undernourished, those two prime directives are definitely harmful to most humans. The ancient imperatives need to be reformulated. But how?

A tried-and-true technique

What is a channel? A canal, a path of distribution, a passageway, a means of access. Like a creek bed, it’s etched or carved into the surface of the ground. The channels that intelligence moves through are, metaphorically, etched into our brains. Most of them are hard to relocate or redirect, and that’s how nature intended it to be. You don’t want to start from scratch every day, learning to walk and talk all over again. Yet, even the course of a mighty river can change.

Certain kinds of rechanneling can go some way toward solving the underlying situation. The BrainWeighve screen titled “Displacement re-channeling activities” suggests activities like fishing, playing an instrument, and dancing, along with more sedentary pursuits like drawing or other artwork. Those calmer activities can usefully include journaling, but not the bare-bones kind like keeping a ship’s log.

The BrainWeighve screen titled “Problem solving” says “Write down everything you know about the problem. Then write what you might do about it.” This is an ideal place to temporarily slide out of the app, and use the technique of writing by hand, which makes a better connection with the brain. A very thorough answer would be, to use a method of journaling that asks and explores the hard questions. Even more specifically, a method with a proven ability to permanently carve new pathways into the brain by exploiting the hand-brain connection. So, stay tuned to find out more about an extremely powerful technique.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “A New Suspect in the Obesity Epidemic: Our Brains,” DiscoverMagazine.com, 08/22/11

The Hungry Brain, Continued

The previous post ended with the question of how the BrainWeighve app might help to alleviate the body’s tendency to hold onto fat. Does the previously mentioned article by Dan Hurley offer any clues? It was written back when the roles of the hormones ghrelin (“Keep eating”) and leptin (“You’re full”) were being explored. And more was going on, too. Hurley wrote,

One fruitful new avenue comes from the revelation that hunger, blood sugar, and weight gained per calorie consumed all ratchet up when our sleep is disrupted and our circadian rhythms — the 24-hour cycle responding to light and dark — thrown into disarray. All this is compounded by stress, which decreases metabolism while increasing the yen for high-calorie food.

In the ensuing years, research found that night-eating definitely promotes weight gain. This is the type of solid information a person can use, and can use BrainWeighve to help implement. We have already seen one of the ways in which the app can be used to help reduce stress.

This is where having a comprehensive list of action plans will come in handy. Of course, in this case, the stored suggestions could be more accurately described as “inaction” plans: sleep enough, at the appropriate times; and don’t eat at night.

It is astounding, how much hunger originates in the brain. Differences in the gustatory cortex and the somatosensory regions of that organ can put weight on a person. Hurley quotes clinical psychologist Eric Stice, whose research demonstrated a seeming paradox: people who experience less pleasure from the food actually are at increased risk of putting on fat:

But his more recent studies have convinced him that the reduced pleasure is a result of years of overeating among the obese girls — the same phenomenon seen in drug addicts who require ever-greater amounts of their drug to feel the same reward.

But wait, there’s more!

Eating behaviors are also linked to areas of the brain associated with self-control (such as the left superior frontal region) and visual attention (such as the right middle temporal region). A recent fMRI study led by Jeanne McCaffery, a psychologist at Brown Medical School, showed that successful weight losers had greater activation in those regions, compared with normal-weight people and obese people, when viewing images of food.

As always, stress plays a big part too, because…

[…] stress pathways in the limbic system feed into the reward centers, and they drive reward-seeking behaviors… We’re not necessarily fat because we’re hungry but because we’re looking for something to deal with stress.

The BrainWeighve app can help us contradict other factors, like the hormone ghrelin that tells us to eat, eat, eat. Most obesity triggers are found in the brain, lying in wait to trip us up and urge us to consume. With the help of BrainWeighve we can train other parts of the brain to fight against that compulsion, and weaken it, and even induce it to limp away in defeat.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “A New Suspect in the Obesity Epidemic: Our Brains,” DiscoverMagazine.com, 08/22/11
Image by Kevin Tan/Flickr

The Hungry Brain

We are looking at an article written by Dan Hurley, back when a major corner was being turned, in terms of what researchers thought they should be looking for, versus what actually turned out to be the case. Dan Hurley describes several twists and turns in that search. At the time, neurobiologists were beginning to catch on that the brain, not the stomach, is the mastermind behind hunger.

They assumed that their search would be for one of those legendary silver bullets, a simple hormonal answer that would obligingly instruct the brain to signal “too much” or at the very least, to recognize the signpost of “enough.” But it was not meant to be. Dan Hurley wrote for Discover magazine,

The latest studies show that a multitude of systems in the brain act in concert to encourage eating. Targeting a single neuronal system is probably doomed to the same ill fate as the failed diets themselves. Because the brain has so many backup systems all geared toward the same thing — maximizing the body’s intake of calories — no single silver bullet will ever work.

The “hungry brain” referenced in our title was contributed by biomedical researcher Hans-Rudolf Berthoud’s phrase, “hungry brain syndrome.”  The brain has two elementary motives: to make us eat, and to make us defend against the loss of any fat we have already gained from eating. How could we convince the brain to stop telling us to eat, and stop telling us to desperately hang onto body fat?

The hormones

To many people, hormones are the chemicals that induce us to flirt with members of the opposite sex, and then partner with them to reproduce more members of our species. But they do so much more. Leptin, as we have seen, is supposed to tell our hypothalamus when we have had enough to eat. Could supplementary leptin be introduced into the system to curb the appetite? Some early experiments with mice seemed promising, but the leptinizing of humans turned out to be a dead end, at least as far as promoting weight loss. It does seem helpful in maintaining weight loss that has already been accomplished.

While leptin says “stop eating,” ghrelin says “swallow everything you can wrap your mouth around.” Originating in the gut, it creates the sensation of hunger and interferes with the metabolism, to jam up the works and preserve the body’s fat. All right then, could ghrelin be induced to behave itself? Only if significant portions of the body are removed via gastric bypass surgery. Hurley writes,

For dieters, the more weight lost, the greater the rise in ghrelin, as if the body were telling the brain to get hungry and regain that weight. By contrast, the big losers in the surgical group saw ghrelin levels fall to the floor. Surgical patients never felt increases in appetite and had an easier time maintaining their weight loss as a result. (A newer weight-loss surgery removes most of the ghrelin-producing cells outright.)

One might ask, what does this have to do with the BrainWeighve mobile application?

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “A New Suspect in the Obesity Epidemic: Our Brains,” DiscoverMagazine.com, 08/22/11
Image by Dierk Schaefer/CC BY 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources