Off-line rTMS of left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex reduces food cravings in females but not males.

Valentina Cazzato, Huw Williams, STERGIOS MAKRIS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


Dysfunction of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLFPC) has been crucially implicated in craving for food. Here, we aimed at expanding this result by investigating gender differences in food cravings in female (n=8; age=20.38yrs; BMI=22.54) and male (n=9; age=20.67yrs; BMI=20.89) healthy participants. Off-line repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS; 15 mins, 900 pulses) was administered on the left DLPFC and on the vertex (as control condition) before and after exposure to sweet food. Desire for salty and sweet food consumption was assessed by visual analogue scales (VAS) and calories consumed before and after rTMS. While after vertex-rTMS women expressed higher desire for sweet but not for salty foods with respect to men, desire for food did not change and remained stable before and after DLPFC-rTMS. No differences were observed in the consumed calories after the two rTMS stimulation. Our results provide preliminary evidence of a brain mechanism by which cognitive inhibition decreases the desire for sweet foods and implicates lower ability to suppress cravings in women as a contributing factor to gender differences possibly in binge eating disorder and obesity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number4
Early online date17 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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