Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Sweet Cravings

Signals from sweet and bitter taste travel to distinct parts of the brain's amygdala

03 August 2018

Sweet Cravings

Imagine if your craving for cake or that morning pastry could be turned off? Mice, like humans, have a sweet tooth. Scientists have recently shown how a mouse’s craving for sweet and dislike for bitter tastes can be removed by changing the connections between brain areas. In mice, the brain wires that map sweet tastes (in green) and bitter tastes (in red) travel to distinct regions of the amygdala, a part of the brain typically associated with memories and emotions. When these connections were switched off, the mice continued to distinguish sweet from bitter tastes, but without the emotional connection they no longer craved the sweet. The team hope to use these findings to better understand the complex taste system, and just how our memories and emotions are so vividly intertwined with our experiences of different foods.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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