The Integrated Neurobiology of Food Intake, Addict.. (NEUROFAST)
The Integrated Neurobiology of Food Intake, Addiction and Stress
Start date: Apr 1, 2010,
End date: Mar 31, 2015
NeuroFAST is a multidisciplinary project, involving ten teams from seven countries, to explore the neurobiology of addiction and eating behaviour and the complex socio-psychological forces that can lead to its dysregulation. These forces include dietary components (including highly palatable foods and alcohol), some of which may have addictive properties, but also cultural and social pressures, everyday stressors, and family-genetic influences on these. The project will provide new data from human studies, including human nutritional studies, that is needed to inform health policy initiatives. This will be underpinned by state-of-the art mechanistic research to establish a solid scientific basis for this advice. The European added value lies in building up the necessary critical mass in several fields of expertise: psychology, epidemiology, human genetics related to eating disorders, human nutrition, eating and addictive behaviour disorders, endocrinology, human brain imaging, together with studies of the basic mechanisms of eating behaviour and addiction, (neuro)endocrine regulators, stress, opiate dependence, and cannabinoid actions. To provide scientific support for European public health policies, a focus will be on a socio-psychological analysis of determinants of food addiction and substance abuse, and of how risk factors like stress in the workplace are driving addictive behaviour. We will establish an evidence base for inter-relationships, linking eating disorder research with obesity research, stress research and addiction research, and involving studies of selected individual food components using novel designed foods with controlled components. In summary, we will use a synergistic combination of controlled laboratory studies, characterization of patient groups, and examination of real-world scenarios based on epidemiological community samples that will be relevant to policy development.
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