Disrupted functional connectivity in adolescent obesity.


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Obesity has been associated with brain alterations characterised by poorer interaction between a hypersensitive reward system and a comparatively weaker prefrontal-cognitive control system. These alterations may occur as early as in adolescence, but this notion remains unclear, as no studies so far have examined global functional connectivity in adolescents with excess weight. SUBJECTS/METHODS: We investigated functional connectivity in a sample of 60 adolescents with excess weight and 55 normal weight controls. We first identified parts of the brain displaying between-group global connectivity differences and then characterised the extent of the differences in functional network integrity and their association with reward sensitivity. RESULTS: Adolescent obesity was linked to neuroadaptations in functional connectivity within brain hubs linked to interoception (insula), emotional memory (middle temporal gyrus) and cognitive control (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) (pFWE