A research team at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine compared the brains of boys and girls with binge eating disorder for the first time and found significant differences in brain structure between men and women. This research recently psychology.
Building on previous research that suggests binge eating disorder is wired into the brain from an early age, this study aims to understand the neurobiology of binge eating disorder and how it differs between men and women. There is also significant evidence that men who have been left out of research on eating disorders in the past must be included in future efforts to understand the origins of eating disorders. is showing.
“Men have been excluded from research into eating disorders for decades,” says Stuart Murray, Ph.D., Della Martin Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, DClinPsych, Ph.D.) noted that the exclusion is permanent. By the belief that it is rare for men to have eating disorders. “Having excluded boys and men, we hope that only women can be studied to develop treatments and then applied to boys and men to achieve the same effect.”
In recent years, however, it has become increasingly clear that some eating disorders are actually almost as prevalent in men and boys as in women and girls. , is not the result of social pressure or lack of willpower, research has increasingly revealed.
Same Disease, Different Brain Structure
Using data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, the largest U.S. study to assess brain development, the researchers found 38 boys diagnosed with bulimia and 33 malnutrition out of the study’s 11,875 participants. Girls were identified. In children, approximately 57% of bulimic patients are boys. This figure varies among adults, with adult men making up about 43% of those with bulimia.
The researchers were able to assess gray matter density in the brains of 9- and 10-year-olds in this study. Voxel-based morphometry is a neuroimaging technique that allows researchers to examine anatomical differences across the brain. brain. Compared to a control group of 74 children matched for age, body mass index and developmental maturity, bulimic girls were gray in several parts of the brain known to be associated with impulse control and overeating. Quality density was elevated. Symptoms of eating disorders. However, boys with binge eating disorder did not have elevated gray matter density in these areas. The increased gray matter density in girls with binge eating disorder suggests that synaptic pruning, a key maturation process in the brain, may be uniquely altered or delayed in these girls.
“This study clearly suggests that the neurobiological hypothesis of binge eating disorder needs to be stratified by gender.
Inclusion of men important for future treatment
Similarly, the fact that boys and girls with binge eating disorder, the most common type of eating disorder, have different brain structures suggests that men may need different kinds of treatment than women. It shows that there is
Murray says new treatments for binge eating disorders are on the horizon and include transcranial magnetic stimulation and direct current stimulation, both of which target the brain directly. So far, only female subjects have been included in the study.
“The differences in brain structure between boys and girls with bulimia mean that treatments that target the brain need to be tested in men as well as women,” Murray said. If not, you’re targeting parts of the male brain that aren’t necessarily abnormal.”
Next, Murray and his team will test whether the brains of men and women with binge eating disorder not only differ in structure, but also function differently.
Additional authors of this study include Christina J. Duval, Anne A. Balkchyan, Darrin J. Lee, Steven J. Siegel, Arthur W. Toga, and Kay Jann of Keck College of Medicine at USC. Joel P. Diaz-Fong of UCLA. Jason M. Nagata of UCSF. Kyle T. Gunson of the University of Toronto.
Stuart B. Murray et al, Gender differences in regional gray matter density in preadolescent binge eating disorder: a voxel-based morphometric study. psychology (2022). DOI: 10.1017/S0033291722003269
Courtesy of USC Keck College of Medicine
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