Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Toshikazu Ikuta

Relational Format



This study examined the link between pituitary gland functional connectivity and BMI. The pituitary gland plays various roles in the body through the secretion of hormones, but its direct role in development of obesity and BMI management is unknown. Resting state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (rsfMRI) brain data of individuals with diverse BMIs were analyzed by voxel-wise analysis to determine the functional connectivities of the pituitary gland to other regions of the brain. A significant negative correlation was found between BMI and pituitary gland functional connectivity in eleven different brain regions. These regions include the posterior thalamus, lingual gyrus, precuneus, right superior temporal gyrus, right middle temporal gyrus, right pallidum, hippocampus, pons, orbitofrontal cortex, left temporal pole, and left inferior frontal gyrus. All regions were linked in some way to eating and weight management; six of them presented specific connections between function and a distinct pituitary hormone or hormone influenced by the pituitary . Lingual gyrus, hippocampus, and temporal pole showed connection to cortisol while precuneus, pallidum, and left inferior frontal gyrus showed connection to oxytocin. Through this evidence, brain disconnectivities in relation to the pituitary gland may contribute to or reflect obesity. This data should be further studied to provide evidence into causative factors that could be used to treat and prevent obesity.

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