Health Day reporter
The authors of the study say this discovery challenges a general theory that has never been directly tested in patients.
Their study included 85 women (22 of them Anorexia, 33 Bulimia And 30 control groups without eating disorders). The study participants were evaluated for two days to determine how stress affects their eating habits.
The women also underwent MRI brain scans to assess brain activity.
“Their idea is to see what happens when these women are stressed. Does this affect key areas of the brain that are important for self-control, which in turn leads to an increase in food intake? We found this surprised us. And with universal theory.” said Margaret Westwater, who is studying for a doctorate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, UK.
The study found that when eating a buffet, women with eating disorders had a smaller overall diet than the control group, but there was no difference in their diet after stress induction or non-stress testing.
The researchers did find that the activity of two key brain regions was related to calorie consumption in all three groups, indicating that these regions play an important role in diet control.
Westwater said at a university press conference: “Although these two eating disorders are similar in many respects, there are significant differences in brain levels.”
Especially bulimia patients seem to have difficulty slowing down their response to environmental changes. She added that this may lead to hasty decisions, making them prone to overeating.
Westwater said: “Theories suggest that these women should eat more when under stress, but this is not actually what we have discovered.” “It is clear that when we consider the eating behavior of these diseases, we A more subtle approach is needed.”
The survey results were published on April 12 in Journal of Neuroscience.
Co-senior author Paul Fletcher said these findings clearly show that the relationship between stress and overeating is very complex.
Fletcher, a professor of psychiatry, said: “This is related to our surroundings, our mental state and how our body signals us to be hungry or full.”
He said that if researchers can better understand how the intestine shapes thoughts related to self-control or decision-making, then they may be more beneficial to help people with “these extremely weak diseases.”
“To do this, we need to take a more comprehensive approach to studying these diseases,” Fletcher added.
More information from the National Institute of Mental Health Eating disorder.
Source: Cambridge University, press release, April 12, 2021