- Symposium on Nutrition and Behavior: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 27, 1956 ed. by Josef Brožek (review)
- Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 1, Number 3, Spring 1958
- pp. 342-343
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS Symposium on Nutrition and Behavior: Proceedings ofa Symposium Held at the University of Minnesota, School ofPublic Health, Laboratory ofPhysiological Hygiene, Minneapolis, Minnesota , April 27, 1936. Edited byJosef Broíek. ("Nutrition Symposium Series," No. 14 [March, 1957].) New York: National Vitamin Foundation, Inc., 1957. $2.50. This monograph consists ofpapers read during a one-day meeting on nutrition and behavior . The papers are grouped under four sections: "Impart of Diet on Behavior," "Hunger and Appetite," "Food Appraisal and Acceptance by Man," "Satiety and Weight Control." Each section includes four reports and an introductory remark by the session chairman. The number ofreports suggests that each presentation probably lasted less dian twenty minutes, which may account for the abridged form ofmost ofdie papers. The editor contributed both an Introduction and an Epilogue, in which he reviewed recent developments, especially the applied aspect, in research on the effect ofdiet on behavior. In the Introduction Broiek emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of this area and the many specialists represented in the symposium. He also points out that research in this area attempts to establish a direction, to trace the causal sequence ofevents, or to explain a phenomenon from different levels of analysis. As in most symposiums currently in vogue, the variety of topics presented is wide. The task ofinterpreting and correlating the many facts is left to die reader. This monograph covers topics that range from the action potential ofthe chorda tympani ofthe rat to the personality ofobese women. With a few exceptions, the papers in the first two sections report experimental results, and tJiose in the last two deal with applied problems. Young and Spector review earlier studies on the interrelation ofdiet and behavior. Three reports demonstrating such correlations are included in the first section: thiamin eficiency and human performance and psyche; vitamin B complex deficiency and conditioned reflex in dog; and pantothenic acid deficiency and thermal response in rat. Many papers in the last two sections similarly attempt to demonstrate correlations between food acceptance and interpersonal aggression; between weight reduction and Bell Emotional Adjustment score; between degree ofnarcissistic strength and obesity; and so on. Existtence ofa correlation does not necessarily suggest either causation or the mechanisms involved . These studies are confined, to use Broiek's term, to the first level. Effort probably should be made, not to add new correlations, but to analyze at different levels the mechanisms underlying the obtained correlations. Four papers in diis symposium are analytic studies ofthe mechanisms involved in feeding behavior. Pfaffmanreports his well-known work on the action potentials ofthe taste342 Book Reviews Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Spring 1938 nerve fibers in the rat and how, under certain conditions, the potential frequency parallels drinking behavior. Young reviews his studies on the psychological factors influencing eating. The distinction between palatability and appetite is an important contribution. Anliker and Meyer provide experimental studies on the hypothesis diat the ventromedial hypothalamus contains a satiety center, which, in response to rising blood glucose, inhibits eating. Stunkard reports that whether or not gastric contractions ofa practically decerebrated man are inhibited by intravenous injection of glucose, fat, or amino acids depends on whetlier he is losing or gaining weight. In aborderline area ofresearch,diereis need to adopt newtechniques to suit a problem. For instance, the use of bar-pressing apparatus to analyze animal behavior has replaced the maze, running alley, etc., in the experiments reported here. This method lends precision in data-gathering but does not constitute a substitute for a study ofmechanisms. In human studies, the questionnaire, psychiatric interview, Thematic ApperceptionTest, and MinnesotaMultiphasic PersonalityInventoryare stillwidelyused. Whetherthese methods are sufficient or whether new approaches are needed to understand how diet affects behavior calls for some consideration. It would be stimulating and rewarding for the participants to talk and exchange views in these meetings. To publish the reports widiout amplification serves only as a quick survey ofthe problems ofworkers in the field. Interested parties will probably read the experimental papers in their complete form from thejournals, or some ofthe essays may be encountered in supplements to the Sunday paper. K. L. Chow University ofChicago Body Water in Man. By Maurice B. Strauss. Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Co., 1957. Pp. xix+286. This...