Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
What causes us to binge eat? Scientists may have the answer.

What causes us to binge eat? Scientists may have the answer.

Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine have revealed that the reason we eat more than we need to may be caused by cellular communication originating in the emotion-processing center of the brain. The research was published in the journal Neuron yesterday.

Binge-eating may be hard wired into the brains of mammalsFedorovacz | Shutterstock

Indulging in cravings for calorific foods when we already feel full is not an uncommon occurrence. While it could be put down to how easy it is to obtain great tasting (but often unhealthy) food is in modern society, the urge to binge on our favorite foods may actually be aby-product of evolution.

Scientists have identified two types of eating: homeostatic eating, which is brought on by hunger and serves to replenish energy levels, and hedonic eating, which is eating motivated by the pleasure brought on by eating calorie-rich food.

Binge-eating is ‘wired’ into our brains

Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, and is a condition that affects approximately 40 percent of American adults.

In ancient environments, humans would have consumed calorie-rich foods in large amounts in preparation for possible famines, which were a regular occurrence over the evolutionary period. That same instinct to fill up on calorific foods in modern society, where there is a rich abundance of foods regularly available, often leads to obesity.

There’s just so much calorically dense food available all the time now, and we haven’t yet lost this wiring that influences us to eat as much food as possible.”

Thomas Kash, Lead Author

This “wiring”, in Kash’s opinion, “seems to be the brain’s way of telling you that if something tastes really good, then it’s worth whatever price you’re paying to get to it, so don’t stop.”

Kash and his fellow researchers found a network of cellular communication stemming from the emotional center the brain, which caused the  mice in the study to continue eating food despite the fact that they had already met their energy needs.

Investigations into brain cells and cellular circuits have been plentiful over the past few decades, but success in finding anti-obesity remedies derived from these sources has been scant. These investigations have usually centered on homeostatic eating.

Kash’s experiment involved engineering mice to produce a fluorescent molecule with nociceptin, a signaling molecule that has been found to have a number of effects on the stomach and intestines, as well as stimulating the urge to over-eat.This allowed them to clearly see the cells that were stimulating the nociceptin circuits.

Emotional responses to food

One circuit stood out to the researchers; a circuit that runs to areas of the brain that regulate eating, among others. This circuit originates in the amygdala, the portion of the brain that is responsible for processing and regulating emotions.

Scientists have studied the amygdala for a long time, and they’ve linked it to pain and anxiety and fear, but our findings highlight that it does other things too, like regulate pathological eating.”

First author J. Andrew Hardaway PhD, research assistant professor of pharmacology at the UNC School of Medicine, said:

“Our study is one of the first to describe how the brain’s emotional center contributes to eating for pleasure. It adds support to the idea that everything mammals eat is being dynamically categorized along a spectrum of good/tasty to bad/disgusting, and this may be physically represented in subsets of neurons in the amygdala.

Blocking the nociception receptor  limited the consumption of calorific food, but had no effect on homeostatic eating.

The behavioral effects of blocking nociception activity probably involve multiple mechanisms in the brain. But on the whole, blocking nociception seems to stabilize behavior, bringing it closer to normal.”

A weight-loss solution?

Depleting the number of nociceptin neurons in these cellular circuits reduced weight gain, suggesting nociception receptor antagonists could represent an attractive route for drug developers investigating anti-obesity and anti-binge-eating medication.

However, Kash’s study concludes by advising “caution in interpreting sufficiency (not necessity) of the contribution of specific neural circuits to feeding when their optogenetic activation produces motor patterns of eating across a broad consummatory spectrum.”

The scientists will now explore whether nociceptin antagonists could be possible treatments for depression, pain, and substance abuse.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles