Bulimia nervosa is a grave eating disorder characterized by periodic gluttonous behavior and excessive measures to control body mass such as self-generated nausea or use of laxative substances or extensive workout. A new study by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus scientists, has seemingly unfolded a brain responsiveness associated to a dopamine related reward-learning job in bulimic and healthy women.
Dopamine is an essential brain chemical or a neurotransmitter that aids to control behavior such as memorizing and motivation. According to the scientists, bulimic women appeared to have weak responsiveness in certain brain areas that are a part of the reward circuits. This response appears to be linked to number of binge phases. It thus came to fore that purging cycles may lead to low reactivity of the region and begin a morbid cycle of disturbed brain function.
“This is the first study that suggests that brain dopamine related reward circuitry, pathways that modulate our drive to eat, may have a role in bulimia nervosa. We found reduced activation in this network in the bulimic women, and the more often an individual had binge/purge episodes the less responsive was their brain. That suggests that the eating disorder behavior directly affects brain function. These findings are important since the brain dopamine neurotransmitter system could be an important treatment target for bulimia nervosa,” commented Guido Frank, MD, assistant professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Director, Developmental Brain Research Program at University of Colorado and leader of research.
These details are crucial as they directly link the brain reward mechanism and working of dopamine to this kind of eating condition. Also, the aforesaid behavior seems to influence brain reward functionality and leaves the researchers unsure whether these brain changes can revert back to normalcy or not. Finally, dopamine in the brain could be a target for the effective treatment of bulimia nervosa.
This study was published in the June 28 issue of Biological Psychiatry.