At some point, we’ve all awoken from some kind of binge, perhaps surrounded by beer bottles, candy wrappers, or shopping bags even! However, today we're here to specifically talk about binge eating. How can rational, functioning adults totally lose control of their impulses? Well, there's finally a science behind it!
Researchers have now identified brain cells in the hypothalamus that could be a promising target for medications for controlling binge eating. The researchers said that "orexin" neurons, named for the chemical messenger they use to communicate with other brain cells, have previously been shown to be important for addiction to several drugs, including cocaine. "Several key symptoms of eating disorders, such as the sense of losing control, overlap with what we know about the driven nature of drug addiction," said co-author Gary Aston-Jones from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in the US. "Since the orexin system has been implicated in addiction to drugs of abuse, we targeted it to understand the change in food motivation caused by repeated episodes of binge eating," Aston-Jones added.
Post the study conducted on lab rats, they concluded, "This study was really a proof-of-concept for using orexin blockers to reduce binge-like eating in rodents," as stated by the lead author Morgan James from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.