Dr. Alain Dagher is a neurologist specializing in movement disorders and functional brain imaging. His research aims at understanding the function of the basal ganglia, with a particular emphasis on appetitive behaviours. This involves studying how we learn about rewards and punishments, and become motivated to engage in reward-seeking behaviour. The two main techniques used are positron emission tomography (PET) targeting the dopamine system, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The research focusses on Parkinson's Disease, stress, drug addiction (notably cigarette smoking), pathological gambling, and obesity. Dr. Dagher is funded by CIHR, FRSQ, NIDA, the Parkinson Society of Canada, the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, and Unilever PLC.
"We measured their skin response because it measures emotional arousal, like a lie detector machine," said Dagher.
"Obesity is becoming more common around the world and it's well known to cause health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.This study describes the mechanism through which ghrelin makes people more vulnerable to hunger-causing stimuli."
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