Washington: Researchers have demonstrated in experimental models that blocking the Sigma-1 receptor, a cellular protein in the prefronto-cortical regions of the brain, reduced binge eating and caused binge eaters to eat more slowly.Pietro Cottone, PhD, and Valentina Sabino, PhD, both assistant professors in the pharmacology and psychiatry departments at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), led the research.Binge eating disorder is believed to be the eating disorder that most closely resembles substance dependence. In binge eating subjects, normal regulatory mechanisms that control hunger do not function properly.Binge eaters typically gorge on “junk” foods excessively and compulsively despite knowing the adverse consequences, which are physical, emotional and social in nature. In addition, binge eaters typically experience distress and withdrawal when they abstain from junk food.The researchers developed an experimental model of compulsive binge eating by providing a sugary, chocolate diet only for one hour a day while the control group was given a standard laboratory diet.
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