Food Palatability And The Reward Value Of Nutrients

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Abstract: It was originally thought that both the palatability and the reward value of nutrients are processed in the same brain region. However, a study conducted by Wassum et al. (2009) provides evidence that this is not the case. They found that the nucleus accumbens and the ventral pallidum are responsible for processing food palatability while the basolateral amygdala is involved in assigning incentive value of food rewards. Furthermore, these processes are interrupted when naloxone is administered into their associated regions. This research is significant because it could provide insight into why subjects continue to engage in certain behaviors despite them no longer being "palatable" or enjoyable, such as in drug addiction, and could provide the basis for more effective treatments of addiction.

Introduction: Food palatability refers to an organism 's subjective experience of food and can be either positive or aversive. As a result, this is generally associated with reward "liking". The reward value attributed to obtaining different foods plays a role in determining an organism 's actions, and is thus referred to as reward "wanting". These "liking" and "wanting" pathways were previously thought to be processed by similar, linked, neural structures including the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum and were thought to go hand in hand (Smith & Berridge, 2007). However, many researchers now suggests otherwise. Studies still indicate that the nucleus accumbens shell

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