Appetite Urges in Brain May Be Reversed in Anorexia & Bulimia

By Rick Nauert PhD

This article has been re-shared from it’s original source,


Researchers have discovered neurological anomalies allow those with anorexia and bulimia nervosa to override the urge to eat.

In a new study, investigators at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus showed that normal patterns of appetite stimulation in the brain are effectively reversed in those with eating disorders.

Their paper appears in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

Researchers learned that in eating disorders, signals from other parts of the brain override the hypothalamus, the brain region that regulates appetite and motivation to eat.

“In the clinical world we call this `mind over matter,”’ said Guido Frank, M.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“Now we have physiological evidence to back up that idea.”

Frank, an expert on eating disorders, set out to discover the hierarchies of the brain that govern appetite and food intake. He wanted to understand the neurological reasons behind why some people eat when they were hungry and others do not.

Using brain scans, the researchers examined how 26 healthy women and 26 women with anorexia or bulimia nervosa reacted to tasting a sugary solution.