Rats and frosting lead to break through in binge eating


Researchers are closer to finding the genetic cause for binge eating and may be getting closer to an effective treatment.

Rats much easier to study without the psychosocial baggage

“Based upon our previous research, we know that binge eating is influenced by genes, but we have been unable to identify in humans which genes contribute to binge eating. With this research, we decided to study two different strains of rats instead of humans,” explained Kelly Klump, MSU professor of psychology. “Unlike humans, animals do not have the cultural, psychological or psychosocial risk factors for binge eating, so they are simpler to study. A rat could care less what it looks like.”

Finding the rats prone to binge eating narrows down the genetic source

Two strains of rats were studied: Sprague-Dawley and Wistar. For two weeks Klump and her team ran a feeding experiment, giving the rats their usual foods but intermittently added vanilla frosting. “We only gave the rats the vanilla frosting every other day because that mimics human binge eating habits,” said Britny Hildebrandt, a graduate student from the Klump Lab. The Sprague-Dawley rats feel into the binge eating routine faster than the Wistar rats. With that information they are able to get a little closer to identifying the genes which control the behavior.

Binge eating affects more women

Buy a ratio of ten to one, women experience binge eating more often than men. The disorder can last for years and have serious health consequences. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.

“Women with eating disorders suffer tremendously and deserve to have this on our national agenda with funding for continued research,” Klump underscored. “For far too long, people have thought that females with eating disorders are just vain girls who want to be pretty. Eating disorders deserve the same level of attention, treatment resources, and funding as other disorders, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. No one would say someone is schizophrenic because they just want to think interesting thoughts.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Michigan State University

ocd self test
Do you or a loved one feel like you might have a problem with OCD? Take the Self Test now to get more information.

The information provided on brainphysics.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of brainphysics.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Click here to read our complete Terms of Use.

Susbscribe to our free newsletter for information & inspiration


BrainPhysics.com Social