Anorexia and bulimia are the two most common types of eating disorders. The first, also known as anorexia nervosa, is an unhealthy fear of eating, which is linked primarily to an obsession with non-gaining weight. The second, bulimia is characterized by the uncontrollable desire to eat excessively, followed by a deep sense of regret; this disorder leads people to self-induce vomiting or use laxatives to eliminate excess food intake. Also, there is another condition called Binge Eating Disorder, where a person feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis even in middle of the night, but without the bulimia’s subsequent phase.
These disorders affect mostly teenagers and young adults. Even though there is a clear psychological component in most of the cases, it is believed that biological factors are also involved. However, so far research had not managed to clarify such factors.
Now, a research conducted by French scientists may change this scenario, as they have shown that a protein produced by some intestinal bacteria could be indirectly involved with the manifestation of any of these eating disorders. Dr. Serguei Fetissov, from the University of Rouen and the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in France, and his colleagues have found that the antibodies produced by the body to attack this protein also react to the main satiety hormone, as both have similar structure. This results in an inadequate regulation of the hormone, leading to scenarios where patients feel no hunger when they should – as happens in anorexia – or patients are not able to feel satiated – bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder.
This discovery opens new perspectives for diagnosis and specific treatment of these diseases. Fetissov and his colleagues believe that it is feasible to correct this mechanism that causes harmful changes in the normal pattern of food intake.
Through: Agencia ID