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Stress and coping with food: Why do we eat when we feel stressed?

February 10, 2021 at 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM

Audience:Staff and Faculty

It is 10:00 PM and you had a rough day at the office. You gave a presentation on the update from an unsuccessful project, and your boss was displeased with the outcome in spite of the fact that poor performance was not due to your work. Your colleagues around the table were not supportive and in fact, a couple were critical and dismissive of your efforts. You got home and found out that one of you kids was called into the principal’s office, and that another has been smoking in the basement. Everybody is sitting around waiting for you to start supper. Once all chores are done, you finally get to relax watching the bachelor and the tension finally gives a little way. Suddenly, and in spite of having had supper a couple of hours earlier, you get the urge, and you go straight to the closest place to heaven: The freezer! Where there is a brand new “cookies and cream” ice cream container that probably won’t see the light of the freezer ever again….Sound familiar?

In this presentation, Professor Alfonso (Alfie) Abizaid from the Department of Neuroscience, will describe how the hormone ghrelin, a hormone secreted by the stomach, works to increase appetite when we are stressed.

About the Researcher

Alfonso (Alfie) Abizaid completed his BA, MA and PHD in Psychology at Concordia University. At the end of his studies at Concordia, he received the Governor’s General Medal for his PhD work and the Valedictorian for the class of 2002. Then, he was fortunate to have the opportunity to continue his scientific training at Yale University School of Medicine with support from an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is currently interested in the brain processes that integrate information from the environment to regulate feeding and energy balance. His NSERC funded research is focused on how metabolic hormones like ghrelin influence reward seeking behaviors via actions on the brain systems related to rewards and fears. His CIHR funded research examines how the hormone ghrelin influences feeding as a coping mechanism to mitigate the effects of chronic social stress. He is also interested on how prenatal factors like diet, environmental pollutants, or gestational diabetes influence the development of brain systems implicated in the regulation of feeding and energy balance in their offspring.

Link to Google scholar publication profile.

Mental Health Speaker Series

This session is part of the Healthy Workplace Mental Health Speaker Series 2020/2021. Find out more.


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