Obesity & Food Addiction Research

imagesCA9YGYPUHave I mentioned that I’m in a voluntary research program for “Obesity & Food Addiction”??  This Research Study is conducted through The Hartford Hospital and a committee of cutting edge Weight Loss Surgeons (mine included).  The research is about Obesity, Weight Loss Surgery and Food Addiction. The study is 1 year-long.

When they asked me to be a part of this research study program, I was intrigued.  When she stated that after the findings, she would share “general information” about my results, I was excited.  I really didn’t care that I would be compensated for my time, however… I’m happy about that too! 

imagesCAXY46PRI have no idea how or why I was chosen to be “brain researched”. lol  My brain, of all things!  I’m not sure to be impressed or…  worried.  (giggle, giggle).   All I know, when I asked how I got chosen; they responded; it was a combination of various factors including my psychological evaluation, nutritional counseling results, weight, plus a “few other factors” which were taken into consideration for eligibility to participate. 

I’d like to know if I’m a “food addict”.  I don’t believe I am.  Yet, in all honesty, addiction runs very high in my family… but, never food.  I had always steered clear of what I thought were the dangers (e.g., drugs, alcohol, etc.)  But who knows…  after a divorce, being a single mom of 3 little ones with no support, no family, financial hard times, job changes…  Did I become fat over that last 15 years because of stress? (age, hormones, etc) or overall could this be in part due to an addiction? 

 MRI_scannerIn my first 2 hour visit on Wednesday, July 13th I was introduced to the MRI machine (which will soon become my friend).  The MRI machine will be imaging my brain while I will be watching pictures and participating by pressing buttons, using joy sticks – much like a video experience.  Afterward, they explained the study in full detail and then the fun began.

This part of the study was spending time doing some tests, which I found were interesting and somewhat fun.  Some were completing patterns in a (I call it…) puzzle book, then, a little trivia pursuit (Seriously, though…  verbally answering questions) about… who knows what!  I didn’t know the answers – and, I’m smart and well-educated!  All I know, is… don’t pick me to be on your team for Trivia Pursuit!  he he   

Then, there was 1 hour of answering personal questions.  Some questions were about if I’ve ever “binged”, questions about feelings, self-esteem, relationships and questions about food, family, but mostly how I felt about myself in very specific situations.  Some of these questions were thought-provoking.

Next week, I will be meeting twice during the week and interacting inside the MRI.  (The fun begins!)  Maybe, I’ll up date you… 

What do I have to look forward to?

On July 25th will be my surgery.  2 weeks afterwards, I will have been scheduled to come back to have more tests with my friend, “the MRI”.  (Apparently, they want to see if or how the weight loss surgery and the pre-surgery diet (to some degree) affects the brain. The low-fat (no-fat) diet that we are on 7 days prior – which is all liquid or protein shakes, not to mention the weeks after surgery – and the impacts which that has on the brain. 

imagesCAFWWXN3When I’m inside the MRI they will have me sip a beverage like water while I watch the screen (as they watch my brain) and then, later I will be given a sip of a “full-fat” milk shake for them see how my brain reacts as I watch pictures.

After that, questionnaires will be sent to me routinely on a monthly basis over the course of the year.  I’ll be filling them out and e-mailing back to them for the study. 

When 1 full year comes this will be my very last appointment! Once again, meet my friend “MRI”, answer a few quick questions and then finally return the computerized pedometer that they will give to me (while at my 2 week appointment after my surgery).  This pedometer is to be used during the whole 1 year duration to track all my activity.

One year sounds like such a long time.  Yet, in the scheme of things I can only imagine what a year from now will bring.  I wonder if “Food Addiction” is proven, if it is real and if so, how what will be done to help people?

I’d love to hear what you think….

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3 thoughts on “Obesity & Food Addiction Research

  1. This sounds like such an interesting study! That’s so exciting! You’re making history as we know it. My ultra scientific hypothesis is that food addiction is real. You can get the same calming effect from eating when you’re having anxiety/stress as you can if you drink, shop, have sex, etc etc. This is why so many postops switch between addictions. I think it’ll be great to have evidence backing this though.

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