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coley144 10-03-2006 05:03 AM

Overeating 'like drug addiction'
 
For obese people overeating is akin to drug addiction, research suggests.
Scans on seven overweight people revealed the regions of the brain that controlled satiety were the same those in drug addicts craving drugs.

The US team who carried out the research said the findings could potentially help to uncover new treatments for obesity.

The work, led by a New York scientist, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers looked at brain impulses in seven overweight individuals.

They had all been previously fitted with a weight-reduction device called an implantable gastric stimulator (IGS).

The implant sends electronic signals to the vagus nerve which then relays messages of satiety to the brain, thus reducing the desire to eat.

To study the interaction between the stomach and the brain, the volunteers received two brain scans spaced two weeks apart, one when the implant was turned on and the other while it was switched off.

New channels

While the volunteers were feeling full and the implant was turned on, the scan revealed an increased metabolism in the hippocampus, an area of the brain associated with emotional behaviour, learning and memory, the orbitofrontal cortex and the striatum.

Lead researcher Dr Gene-Jack Wang, at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York, said: "As soon as we saw these scans, immediately it reminded me of what we had studied in drug abuse when people were under a craving situation - the same areas in the brain lit up."

He said this supported the idea that there were commonalities in the brain circuitry that underlay food intake and compulsive drug intake.

Although the study was small, he added, it would help to further understand the desire to eat and obesity.

"It gives us another channel to understand how to treat or prevent obesity."

Professor Jimmy Bell, of the molecular imaging group at Hammersmith Hospital, said: "This is a very interesting paper.

"There is a lot of research going on around the world looking for biomarkers - anything that will tell you directly what is going on in a biological process - to understand the relationship between appetite, satiety and emotional factors that control what we eat, and when we eat and how much we eat.

"I do not think it is surprising they have found a link between drug addiction and overeating. In a way you can think of eating as a 'necessary addiction' - if we were not addicted to eating, most of us would stop eating."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5399762.stm

beautifulone 10-03-2006 08:44 AM

I do agree, based on my personal experiences... then again, I've never taken drugs so I can't personally compare the two, but when I've struggled with compulsive overeating/bingeing, I felt addicted... I felt out of control, I was willing to go to great lenghts to get something, I thought about it obsessively, when I woke up, before I went to sleep...

I am turned off by the last comment, that it is a necessary addiction for all of us to have - I don't know if it's just my interpretation but it seems to belittle the entire problem and its seriousness.

Great article, thanks for posting!

love1384 10-03-2006 11:33 PM

this is true, I did research on this for my biology thesis. The same neurotransmitter ( I believe Serotonin) that is seen in high levels of the brain for people that are addicticted to drugs or even gambling or people generally with addictive behaviors. Are seen in Over eaters, i think its the region of the hippocampus in the brain which is where the bodies reward center is seen or it may be the amygdala. There is some problem with with the recepters where serotoin is not being retrieved and there is build up. Well, thats all I remember its very interesting look it up.

Valerie Joy 10-05-2006 12:59 PM

I totally agree with this study.

I was just thinking while looking in my refrigerator yesterday that I'm like an addict but unlike a drug addict I can't just go cold turkey which makes it extra hard to quit.

Cheryl14 01-25-2007 11:56 PM

My personal "triggers" (chocolate, cheese, chips) DEFINITELY classify as my "drugs", and I am like any other drug addict when I am around them. I am therefore a chocoholic, a cheesoholic, and a chipoholic all rolled up into one.

Cheryl

tikanique 02-01-2007 04:21 PM

I remember one day a few years back, I was working hard to lose weight but was in the first 4 days of it so the cravings were worse. I walked by a co-workers office that always kept chocolate on his desk in a huge jar. I wanted some so bad that I began to physically shake. I'll never forget that.

I also remember times as recently as last month sitting at my desk, physically ill and nauseous from eating so much junk out of the vending machine. I hated myself for eating to the point of illness. However, the minute I got past filling ill, I was right back down the hall. I got so mad one day when the junk that I wanted got stuck in the machine, I stopped working, went down to my bank, got enough change and emptied out the entire row of that goodie. I lied to myself that I was going to eat only one a day. However, by 5PM all 10 packs of the crap were in my body.

When I'm on a binge cycle I detest myself so much I just let everything go. Then it's like a light pops on, I can focus and not make dumb choices and everything is fine for about 6 months and then something happens and I lose the control and the scale goes up and my feeling of self-worth goes right back down.

Tiki

kaplods 02-02-2007 12:33 PM

I think what they mean by "necessary addiction," is that we all are dependent upon food, and until very recently, there was a survival advantage to being more focused on food than everyone else around you. Same with slower metabolisms, sugar and fat cravings, and a tendencies toward avoid "unnecessary" burning of calories.

Many of us have "survivor," genes and thousands of years of learned behaviors that once worked to our advantage, but now are working against us. We have a society in which little energy expenditure is required, and high fat/sugar/calories food is available in virtually unlimited quantities for all levels of society. This has been inconceivable in most of the world, and even in our own country until about 50 or 60 years ago. Our bodies and minds haven't caught up yet


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