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Don’t make any decisions on an empty stomach, says study

Starving yourself can prove to be harmful in more ways than one, as this study goes to suggest.

illogical decision making, health news, animal testing, temperamental issues When hungry, the hormone ghrelin is produced in the stomach, which has been shown to have a negative effect on decision-making capabilities and impulse control. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Decisions are best taken when you are full. Researchers have found that the hormone ghrelin-released before meals and is known to increase one’s appetite has a negative effect on both decision-making and impulse control.

“For the first time, we have been able to show that increasing ghrelin levels that are seen prior to meals or during fasting, cause the brain to act impulsively and also affect the ability to make rational decisions,” said one of the researchers Karolina Skibicka from Sahlgrenska Academy, the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

When hungry, the hormone ghrelin is produced in the stomach. In the new study conducted on rats, the hormone has been shown to have a negative effect on decision-making capabilities and impulse control.

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The rats can be trained to be rewarded (with sugar) when they execute an action such as pressing a lever (“go”), or instead they can be rewarded only when they resist pressing the lever (“no-go”) when an appropriate signal is given.

They learn this by repeatedly being given a signal. For example, a flash of light or a buzzing sound that tells them which action should be executed for them to receive their reward.

An inability to resist pressing the lever, when the “no-go” signal is given, is a sign of impulsivity.

Researchers found that rats that were given ghrelin directly into the brain; which mimics how the stomach would notify us of a need to eat, were more likely to press the lever instead of waiting, despite it causing them to lose their reward.

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Higher levels of ghrelin prevented the rats from being able to wait for the greater reward, said the study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PLrDg7LoYgk9wfXlQbcO6l0vRxJb3gaOZs%5D

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First published on: 12-05-2016 at 06:11 IST
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