A Washington-based new study revealed that the activation of brain receptors in its pleasure centre may be helpful to improve motivation for physical activity more specifically in postmenopausal women. It will certainly prove a future treatment. This hotspot in the brain stimulates different processes and reinforces messages related to reward, pleasure, and other motivation for physical exercise.
According to Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri, Victoria Vieira-Potter, “Postmenopausal women are more susceptible to weight gain and health issues. This is especially frustrating for women who already are dealing with significant changes to their bodies. We found that the decrease in physical activity that leads to weight gain may be caused by changes in brain activity”.
In this study, efforts were made in which the physical activity of rats compared to the rats that were found highly fit to the rats having a lower level of fitness. The rats were studied particularly when they use running wheels set up in the cages before and after the removal of their ovaries. Gene expression changes of dopamine receptors within the brain’s pleasure centre were also examined.
Among the rat’s group taken, the high-fit rat group correlated with greater wheel running before and after the loss of ovarian hormones were found with numerous activity in the brain’s pleasure centre.
Nevertheless, a significant reduction was noted in the high-fit rats running wheel after the removal of ovaries.
The research also suggested that in wheel running this also correlated significantly with a reduction in their dopamine signaling levels which indicated the highly probable involvement of brain’s pleasure centre.
As Vieira-Potter explains, “We found that in both groups of rats, the hormonal changes from menopause led to changes in the brain that translated to less physical activity. The findings confirm previous evidence in humans and rodents that weight gain that occurs after menopause is likely due to decreased overall physical activity rather than increased energy intake from diet”.