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Dr. Jennifer Nasser Published in High Impact Obesity Journal

October 1, 2012 — Quinlan, JenniferDr. Jennifer Nasser, an assistant professor in the Nutrition Sciences Department, had an article published in Obesity. Dr. Nasser, along with Dr. Angelo Del Parigi, who has a courtesy faculty appointment in the Department, published “Electroretinographic detection of human brain dopamine response to oral food stimulation.” The article is about a new and compelling finding: food placed in the mouth can significantly increase the ability of the eye to respond to light stimulation. The human eye responds to light due to the release of the neurohormone dopamine from the eye’s retina cells. Electroretinography measures the retina’s response to light stimulation.

“What makes this so exciting,” Dr. Nasser said, “Is that the eye’s dopamine system was considered separate from the rest of the brain’s dopamine system. So most people (and indeed many retinography experts told me this) would say that tasting a food that stimulates the brain’s dopamine system wouldn’t have an effect on the eye’s dopamine system.”

If reproducible, this finding will lead to an inexpensive imaging technique for clinical application that will hopefully be a tool in crafting more effective and acceptable dietary interventions for obesity, eating disorders, and malnutrition. The electroretinography procedure would cost approximately $150 per patient versus the exhorbitant cost of an fMRI or PET imaging, which can cost up to $3,000.

JA Nasser, A Del Parigi, K Merhige, C Wolper, A Celiebter, SA Hashim. Electroretinographic detection of human brain dopamine response to oral food simulation. Obesity 2012 (In press)

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