Nov. 29, 2023
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC scientist identifies a connection in the brain between stress and emotional eating
If you’ve had a near miss accident in your car or suffered the intimidation of a menacing person, you’ve probably felt it — a psychological reaction to a threat called a fight or flight response. Your heart rate climbs, anxiety washes over you, you might shake or sweat. But hours after that stress passes, you may feel another response — a powerful desire for comfort food, that highly processed, high-fat stuff you know isn’t good for you. It can relieve stress and tension and provide a sense of control. Emotional eating following a stress-triggering interaction is familiar to many of us, and to scientists as well. Now, Sora Shin, assistant professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, and her research team have pinpointed a molecule found in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus that is connected to changes in the brain that lead to emotional overeating.
Creating a healthier future. For everyone.
The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC is one of the nation’s fastest-growing academic biomedical research enterprises and a destination for world-class researchers. The institute’s Virginia Tech scientists focus on diseases that are the leading causes of death and suffering in the United States, including brain disorders, heart disease, and cancer. Since its founding in 2010, the research institute has experienced unprecedented growth: doubling its enterprise and lab facilities in Roanoke, while also investing in brand-new laboratories on the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C.
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