Neural circuitry could affect appetite

4 June 2013

New healthcare research by experts at the University of California in San Diego has revealed that neural disturbances could cause eating disorders, most notably bulimia and anorexia. Dysfunctional neural circuitry may affect individuals’ hunger cues, suppressing appetite even when food is needed to maintain proper bodily functions.

Dr Walter Kaye, professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego, said: “This study confirms earlier studies by our group and others that establish a clear link between these disorders and neural processes in the insula, an area of the brain where taste is sensed and integrated with reward to help determine whether an individual [is] hungry or full.”

Participants in the study who had previously suffered from anorexia were found to have a diminished reaction to sugar, while patients recovering from bulimia had an elevated response.

Lead author of the study, Dr Tyson Oberndorfer, said: "One possibility is that restricted eating and weight loss occurs in anorexia because the brain fails to accurately recognise hunger signals. Alternately, overeating in bulimia could represent an exaggerated perception of hunger signals."

If you are uncomfortable with your weight, consult a doctor for a basic health assessment. There are plenty of healthy alternatives available for adults who would like to lose weight.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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