Eating can be a form of addiction for obese people, suggests a new study that used a device to monitor stomach-to-brain signals. ‘We found that areas of the brain that received signals were the hippocampus, which is involved in memory and emotion, and also the frontal cortex,’ said Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, head of the medical department at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. He’s also lead author of a report on the findings, published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The hippocampus is known to be involved in drug addiction, Wang noted. ‘An obese person, even if he becomes lean, still has the signals in the area of the hippocampus, so there is a high likelihood that he will relapse,’ Wang said. That’s the pessimistic view. A more hopeful evaluation comes from Dr. Mark Gold, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Institute, who has long proposed that eating can be an addiction. ‘The advantage of having a novel hypothesis means that we might be able to develop new treatments for obesity similar to those for drugs of abuse,’ Gold said. ‘This […]

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