It’s a fact that obesity is a major public health problem right? Right. So what’s new?
Well, maybe some of us are actually not fat, but only fat in our own minds. The fact that we all have an image of our selves stored in our brain, which can sometimes get disordered, is considered to have a lot of influence on origin of diseases like anorexia and bulimia.
BBC reports that UK scientists have identified the part of the brain that determines whether a person perceives themselves as fat.
The area is called the posterior parietal cortex which sits at the side of the head, just above the ear. The University College London and the Institute of Neurology team believe the findings might explain why some people feel fat, even when they are thin.
To achieve the so-called “Pinocchio” illusion, the 17 participants each had a vibrating device placed on their wrist to stimulate the tendon and create the sensation that the joint was bending, even though it was not.
With their hand touching their waist, the volunteers felt their wrists bending into their body, creating the illusion that their waists were shrinking. During the experiment, all of the volunteers reported that they felt as though their waist had shrunk by up to 28%.
The brain scans revealed increased activity in the posterior parietal cortex at the same time. This brain region helps interpret the sensory information coming from different parts of the body.
The volunteers who reported the strongest shrinking sensation also showed the strongest activity in this area of the brain.
Lead researcher Dr Henrick Ehrsson said: “Unlike more elementary bodily senses such as limb movement, touch and pain, there are no specialized receptors in the body that send information to the brain about the size and shape of body parts. “Instead, the brain appears to create a map of the body by integrating signals from the relevant body parts such as skin, joints and muscles, along with visual cues.”
He said other studies have shown that people with injuries in the parietal cortex area of the brain experience the feeling that the size and shape of their body parts have changed.
Well, if after all you don’t have problems with your posterior parietal cortex and you are indeed obese, you will have other serious problems that are making headlines to consider. Add this to the list of reasons why to loose weight and act now.
At BBC learn more about feeling fat…
Read the whole research article: “Neural Substrate of Body Size: Illusory Feeling of Shrinking of the Waist“…