New weight loss applications 'could help train the brain to resist temptation'

1 July 2016

A new computer game and smartphone app have been developed to help people gain better control of their unhealthy eating habits.

Drexel University is launching two studies evaluating the benefits of these interventions. The first will assess the potential of the game, DietDash, to improve a person's inhibitory control, which is the part of the brain that helps people avoid giving into unhealthy cravings.

Other studies have shown this type of training can at least temporarily bring eating habits under control; for this study, the researchers are aiming to assess the benefits of the method over two months.

The second study will focus on the DietAlert mobile app, which works by intelligently detecting patterns in eating habits and providing tailored strategies when it appears that users are likely to fall short of their dietary goals.

It differs from many of the other apps available by not only tracking a person's eating habits, but also using that information to give personalised advice.

Dr Evan Forman, professor of psychology at Drexel University's college of arts and sciences, said: "The study is really the first to attempt to train people for weeks in a row. We think this can translate to real-world behaviours, because just like any task, it improves with practice."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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