7 October 2016
New research has demonstrated the potential benefits of a promising therapeutic approach for blocking binge eating.
The Boston University School of Medicine research has seen beneficial effects on compulsive binge eating from blocking the activation of a class of receptors known as trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1).
Discovered in 2001, TAAR1 is a receptor that binds molecules in the brain called trace amines. For this study, the team aimed to examine the effect of administering a TAAR1 agonist, RO5256390, on reducing maladaptive feeding behaviours.
It was shown that a TAAR1 agonist called RO5256390 was able to block binge eating of sugary foods by diminishing the strength of mental cues associated with junk food and preventing potentially unsafe levels of consumption.
The team found that TAAR1 was typically decreased in the region of the brain responsible for key decision-making processes and executive functions. The drug used was able to restore some of these functions.
Dr Pietro Cottone, associate professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, said: "Effective therapeutic treatments currently available are very elusive. The results of this study provide a new window toward the development of a new class of drugs with a novel target unexplored until now."
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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