Memory and eating: a bidirectional relationship implicated in obesity

Marise B Parent, Suzanne Higgs, Lucy G Cheke, Scott E Kanoski

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This paper reviews evidence demonstrating a bidirectional relationship between memory and eating in humans and rodents. In humans, amnesia is associated with impaired processing of hunger and satiety cues, disrupted memory of recent meals, and overconsumption. In healthy participants, meal-related memory limits subsequent ingestive behavior and obesity is associated with impaired memory and disturbances in the hippocampus. Evidence from rodents suggests that dorsal hippocampal neural activity contributes to the ability of meal-related memory to control future intake, that endocrine and neuropeptide systems act in the ventral hippocampus to provide cues regarding energy status and regulate learned aspects of eating, and that consumption of hypercaloric diets and obesity disrupt these processes. Collectively, this evidence indicates that diet-induced obesity may be caused and/or maintained, at least in part, by a vicious cycle wherein excess intake disrupts hippocampal functioning, which further increases intake. This perspective may advance our understanding of how the brain controls eating, the neural mechanisms that contribute to eating-related disorders, and identify how to treat diet-induced obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-129
JournalNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Early online date20 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • Amnesia
  • Appetite
  • Cognition
  • Diet
  • Episodic memory
  • Food intake
  • Hippocampus
  • Interoception


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