A history of binge eating - consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time - may make an individual more likely to show other addiction-like behaviors, including substance abuse, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. In the short term, this finding may shed light on the factors that promote substance abuse, addiction, and relapse. In the long term, may help clinicians treat individuals suffering from this devastating disease. "Drug addiction persists as a major problem in the United States, " said Patricia Sue Grigson, Ph.D., professor, Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences. "Likewise, excessive food intake, like binge eating, has become problematic. Substance-abuse and binge eating are both characterized by a loss of control over consumption.
When University of Illinois researchers surveyed over 3, 500 college applicants, more than a third couldn't report their weight accurately, and overweight and obese men were more likely to underestimate their weight than women. "This misperception is important because the first step in dealing with a weight problem is knowing that you have one, " said Margarita Teran-Garcia, a U of I professor of food science and human nutrition. The study is part of the Up Amigos project, a collaboration between scientists at the U of I and the Universidad AutÃ noma de San Luis Potos in Mexico. In physical exams, the height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) of 3, 622 18- to 20-year-old applicants to the Mexican university were recorded; the aspiring students also completed surveys in which they reported their weight status.
The brains of people with anorexia and obesity are wired differently, according to new research. Neuroscientists for the first time have found that how our brains respond to food differs across a spectrum of eating behaviors - from extreme overeating to food deprivation. This study is one of several new approaches to help better understand and ultimately treat eating disorders and obesity. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. And more than two-thirds of the U.S. population are overweight or obese - a health factor associated with cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and cancer. "This body of work not only increases our understanding of the relationship between food and brain function but can also inform weight loss programs, " says Laura Martin of Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center, one of several researchers whose work presented at a meeting of cognitive neuroscientists in Chicago.
Low doses of a commonly used atypical antipsychotic drug improved survival in a mouse model of anorexia nervosa, University of Chicago researchers report this month. The result offers promise for a common and occasionally fatal eating disorder that currently lacks approved drugs for treatment. Mice treated with small doses of the drug olanzapine were more likely to maintain their weight when given an exercise wheel and restricted food access, conditions that produce activity-based anorexia (ABA) in animals. The antidepressant fluoxetine, commonly prescribed off-label for anorexic patients, did not improve survival in the experiment. "We found over and over again that olanzapine was effective in harsher conditions, less harsh conditions, adolescents, adults - it consistently worked, " said the paper's first author Stephanie Klenotich, graduate student in the Committee on Neurobiology at the University of Chicago Biological Sciences.
Criteria for a broadened syndrome of acute onset obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have been proposed by a National Institutes of Health scientist and her colleagues. The syndrome, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), includes children and teens that suddenly develop on-again/off-again OCD symptoms or abnormal eating behaviors, along with other psychiatric symptoms - without any known cause. PANS expands on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS), which is limited to a subset of cases traceable to an autoimmune process triggered by a strep infection. A clinical trial testing an immune-based treatment for PANDAS is currently underway at NIH and Yale University. "Parents will describe children with PANS as overcome by a 'ferocious' onset of obsessive thoughts, compulsive rituals and overwhelming fears, " said Susan Swedo, M.