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Brain area found to trigger binge eating

Posted - Oct. 4, 2004 at 2:40 p.m.



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MADISON, Wis., Oct 04, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A University of Missouri-Columbia researcher has discovered an area of the brain that appears to control the desire for, and intake of, high-fat foods.

Using rats, Matthew Will, an assistant psychology professor, who conducted the study along with Ann Kelley of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found rats injected with natural "pleasure" opioids ate three times more high-fat foods.

"Interestingly, this region only controlled feeding that occurred after the subject reached fullness, and had no effect on the normal response that hunger brings," said Will.

Prior research has determined that the release of opioids in the brain that can cause euphoria into a region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, controls the intake of highly palatable foods like ice cream. This chemical release increases the intake of fat and sugar-containing foods by 300 percent.

"Given the current epidemic of obesity, understanding how these networks in the brain control the desire for food is extremely important," Will said.

The study was published in the August edition of NeuroReport.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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