HDR Confirmation Seminar: Zahra Kohsar - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

HDR Confirmation Seminar: Zahra Kohsar

We would like to invite you to attend the Confirmation of Zahra Kohsar, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the School of Health and Behavioural Sciences.

Thesis Title:  Attention and Approach Bias Toward Food Cues in People with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Abstract:  Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a severe metabolic condition in which the body becomes resistant to insulin and progressively loses the capacity to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes continues to increase globally and currently include 425 million adults. Type 2 diabetes prevalence has reached epidemic proportion worldwide, and there is an urgent need for effective health care policies and interventions. Poorly managed diabetes is associated with a wide range of serious health complications including retinopathy, organ failure and early death. While the aetiology of type 2 diabetes is still unclear, the illness development is strongly associated with modifiable lifestyle habits. Key factors contributing to type 2 diabetes include an unhealthy diet with high fat and sugar content, a sedentary lifestyle, and excess body weight. The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes treatment is diet and weight control. Yet, adherence to diet and weight recommendation is challenging for patients to maintain. Research in eating disorders and other eating conditions, including obesity, have shown that unconscious and implicit cognitive processes influence people's eating habits. People with excessive and unhealthy eating habits have shown an attention bias toward food. Individuals with an attention bias for food are faster to detect food and direct their attention toward food associated cues in their environment. The attention bias for food encourages the individual to seek out and approach food, thereby facilitating excessive eating behaviours. We hypothesize that a corresponding cognitive bias may be present in people with type 2 diabetes. By employing cognitive-experimental paradigms, we aim to investigate attention and approach biases for food in people with type 2 diabetes. The findings could have significant clinical outcomes by expanding the current treatment to include interventions for cognitive biases toward food. Identifying attention and approaching biases toward food will uncover important information about the factors that influence eating behaviours in people with type 2 diabetes.

We look forward to seeing you there!