Correlation between brain circuit segregation and obesity

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Obesity is a major public health problem. Herein, we aim to identify the correlation between brain circuit segregation and obesity using multimodal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques and analysis. Twenty obese patients (BMI = 37.66 ± 5.07) and 30 healthy controls (BMI = 22.64 ± 3.45) were compared using neuroimaging and assessed for symptoms of anxiety and depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). All participants underwent resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) and T1-weighted imaging using a 1.5T MRI. Multimodal MRI techniques and analyses were used to assess obese patients, including the functional connectivity (FC), amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF), regional homogeneity (ReHo), graph theoretical analysis (GTA), and voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Correlations between brain circuit segregation and obesity were also calculated. In the VBM, obese patients showed altered gray matter volumes in the amygdala, thalamus and putamen. In the FC, the obesity group showed increased functional connectivity in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex and decreased functional connectivity in the frontal gyrus of default mode network. The obesity group also exhibited altered ALFF and ReHo in the prefrontal cortex and precuneus. In the GTA, the obese patients showed a significant decrease in local segregation and a significant increase in global integration, suggesting a shift toward randomization in their functional networks. Our results may provide additional evidence for potential structural and functional imaging markers for clinical diagnosis and future research, and they may improve our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of obesity.

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