Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain's Opioid Receptors -- or Endorphin System -- May Hold Key to Treatment Possibilities for Bulimia Patients

Date:
August 13, 2005
Source:
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Summary:
The role of the brain's opioid receptor system -- or endorphin system -- may hold the key to understanding and treating bulimia nervosa, according to research reported in the Society of Nuclear Medicine's August issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

RESTON, Va.— The role of the brain’s opioid receptorsystem—or endorphin system—may hold the key to understanding andtreating bulimia nervosa, according to research reported in the Societyof Nuclear Medicine’s August issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"Involvementof the opioid system may explain the addictive quality of thisbehavioral disorder," said Angela Guarda, M.D., assistant professor ofpsychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. Thefirst imaging study to implicate the opioid system in bulimia nervosashows differences in women with bulimia compared to healthy women,added J. James Frost, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology andneuroscience at Johns Hopkins and co-author of "Regional μ-OpioidReceptor Binding in Insular Cortex Is Decreased in Bulimia Nervosa andCorrelates Inversely With Fasting Behavior." In the study, eight womenwith bulimia were compared to healthy women of the same age and weight.Their brains were scanned using positron emission tomography (PET)after injection with the short-acting radioactive compound carfentanil,which binds to mu-opioid receptors in the brain, explained Frost. PETis a powerful medical imaging procedure that noninvasively uses specialimaging systems and radioactive tracers to produce pictures of thefunction and metabolism of the cells in the body. He noted, "We foundthat mu-opioid receptor binding in bulimic women was lower than inhealthy women in the left insular cortex. The insula is involved inprocessing taste, as well as the anticipation and reward of eating, andhas been implicated in studies of other driven behavioral disorders,including drug addiction and gambling.”

Bulimia nervosa is aserious eating disorder marked by a destructive pattern of recurrentdieting, binging and vomiting to control one's weight. "Patients feeltrapped by this behavioral cycle suggesting something about it isrewarding,” said Guarda, “and, as with substance abuse, the course ofbulimia is frequently chronic and relapsing."

Bulimia nervosa,which is 10 times more common in females than in males, affects 1–2percent of adolescent girls and young women in the United States.Bulimia may become chronic and lead to serious health problems,including seizures, irregular heartbeat, dental erosion, swollensalivary glands, gastrointestinal irritation and electrolyteimbalances. In rare cases, it may be fatal. While the cause of bulimianervosa is still unknown, research shows that certain brain chemicalsmay function abnormally in bulimia patients. This research may point toa molecular target for development of more effective treatments thanthose currently available. Frost indicated that medications that affectthe brain’s opioid receptor system and approaches to treatment forsubstance abuse disorders may be helpful in treating bulimia.

Frostand Guarda co-authored "Regional μ-Opioid Receptor Binding in InsularCortex Is Decreased in Bulimia Nervosa and Correlates Inversely WithFasting Behavior" with Badreddine Bencherif, M.D., Hayden T. Ravert,Ph.D., and Robert F. Dannals, Ph.D., department of radiology, and CarloColantuoni, Ph.D., department of neuroscience, all at Johns HopkinsUniversity School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society of Nuclear Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Brain's Opioid Receptors -- or Endorphin System -- May Hold Key to Treatment Possibilities for Bulimia Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050811092434.htm>.
Society of Nuclear Medicine. (2005, August 13). Brain's Opioid Receptors -- or Endorphin System -- May Hold Key to Treatment Possibilities for Bulimia Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050811092434.htm
Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Brain's Opioid Receptors -- or Endorphin System -- May Hold Key to Treatment Possibilities for Bulimia Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050811092434.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins