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Using neuroimaging to investigate the impact of Mandolean® training in young people with obesity: a pilot randomised controlled trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number366
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Nov 2018
DatePublished (current) - 22 Nov 2018


Background: Slowing eating rate using the Mandolean® previously helped obese adolescents to self-select smaller portion sizes, with no reduction in satiety, and enhanced ghrelin suppression. The objective of this pilot, randomised trial was to investigate the neural response to food cues following Mandolean® training using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), and measures of ghrelin, PYY, glucose and self-reported appetite. Method: Twenty-four obese adolescents (11-18 years; BMI ≥ 95th centile) were randomised (but stratified by age and gender) to receive six-months of standard care in an obesity clinic, or standard care plus short-term Mandolean® training. Two fMRI sessions were conducted: at baseline and post-intervention. These sessions were structured as an oral glucose tolerance test, with food cue-reactivity fMRI, cannulation for blood samples, and appetite ratings taken at baseline, 30 (no fMRI), 60 and 90 min post-glucose. As this was a pilot trial, a conservative approach to the statistical analysis of the behavioural data used Cliff's delta as a non-parametric measure of effect size between groups. fMRI data was analysed using non-parametric permutation analysis (RANDOMISE, FSL). Results: Following Mandolean® training: (i) relatively less activation was seen in brain regions associated with food cue reactivity after glucose consumption compared to standard care group; (ii) 22% reduction in self-selected portion size was found with no reduction in post-meal satiety. However, usage of the Mandolean® by the young people involved was variable and considerably less than planned at the outset (on average, 28 meals with the Mandolean® over six-months). Conclusion: This pilot trial provides preliminary evidence that Mandolean® training may be associated with changes in how food cues in the environment are processed, supporting previous studies showing a reduction in portion size with no reduction in satiety. In this regard, the study supports targeting eating behaviour in weight-management interventions in young people. However, given the variable usage of the Mandolean® during the trial, further work is required to design more engaging interventions reducing eating speed. Trial registration: ISRCTN, ISRCTN84202126, retrospectively registered 22/02/2018.

    Structured keywords

  • CRICBristol
  • Brain and Behaviour

    Research areas

  • Eating rate, Satiety, fMRI, Adolescents, Obesity, Brain

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    Licence: CC BY


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