Neural correlates of future weight loss reveal a possible role for brain-gastric interactions

Gidon Levakov, Alon Kaplan, Anat Yaskolka Meir, Ehud Rinott, Gal Tsaban, Hila Zelicha, Nachshon Meiran, Ilan Shelef, Iris Shai, Galia Avidan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Lifestyle dietary interventions are an essential practice in treating obesity, hence neural factors that may assist in predicting individual treatment success are of great significance. Here, in a prospective, open-label, three arms study, we examined the correlation between brain resting-state functional connectivity measured at baseline and weight loss following 6 months of lifestyle intervention in 92 overweight participants. We report a robust subnetwork composed mainly of sensory and motor cortical regions, whose edges correlated with future weight loss. This effect was found regardless of intervention group. Importantly, this main finding was further corroborated using a stringent connectivity-based prediction model assessed with cross-validation thus attesting to its robustness. The engagement of senso-motor regions in this subnetwork is consistent with the over-sensitivity to food cues theory of weight regulation. Finally, we tested an additional hypothesis regarding the role of brain-gastric interaction in this subnetwork, considering recent findings of a cortical network synchronized with gastric activity. Accordingly, we found a significant spatial overlap with the subnetwork reported in the present study. Moreover, power in the gastric basal electric frequency within our reported subnetwork negatively correlated with future weight loss. This finding was specific to the weight loss related subnetwork and to the gastric basal frequency. These findings should be further corroborated by combining direct recordings of gastric activity in future studies. Taken together, these intriguing results may have important implications for our understanding of the etiology of obesity and the mechanism of response to dietary intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117403
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Functional connectivity
  • Gastric network
  • Lifestyle intervention
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Stomach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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