Novel Treatment Could Reduce Addiction-Like Behaviors In Binge Eating Disorder

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While anorexia and bulimia are what you might typically imagine when you think of eating disorders, the most common form of disordered eating in the United States is binge eating disorder – a disorder characterized by frequent bouts of excessive eating, and feelings of loss of control, guilt, and shame.

Binge eating disorder can also be tricky to treat. Thankfully, researchers at Boston University School of Medicine say they have developed a unique novel therapeutic treatment for the disorder they think will lead to even more effective treatments in the future.

The drug created by the researchers targets trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1), which binds to molecules in the brain called trace amines. These molecules have also been associated with compulsive binge eating in past studies.

“TAAR1 seems to be working as a ‘brake’ in the areas of the brain involved in decision-making and executive function,” explained study author Pietro Cottone in a statement. “Subjects exposed to junk food lose this ‘brake’ and show aberrant addiction-like behavior over food.”

According to the report published online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the team of researchers has created an experimental model showing that those exposed to these molecules exhibited addiction-like binge eating behavior to sugary, chocolate-flavored food. The model group also showed a higher likelihood of exhibiting risky behavior for food compared to a control group.

The researchers then administered a drug known as RO5256390 which targets TAAR1. The results showed that the drug decreased the amount of TAAR1 in the region of the brain linked to decision-making processes and executive function, which in turn led to reduced addictive-like food behaviors.

The research is in its early stages but could lead to significantly more effective drug treatments for the millions who live with binge eating disorder in the future.

If you think you or someone you know may be living with binge eating disorder, give us a call at (888) 298-4673. We can answer any questions you have and find the right treatment plan for you.

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