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Binge-Eating Neurons Identified

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mouse in a bowl of cereal with spoon isolated on white

Study finds inducing activity in the zona incerta portion of the brain, prompts mice to gorge themselves.

Yale University neuroscientists Anthony Van Den Pol and Xiaobing Zhang used optogenetics, to stimulate a group of neurons below thalamus and above the hypothalamus. They were then able to immediately activate binge eating in mice. According to their results, within seconds the animals began overeating and after only 10 minutes, they had eaten 35 percent of a normal daily amount.

Van Del Pol states that “being able to include the zona incerta in models of feeding is going to help us understand it better.” He speculates that this portion of the brain may be the root of binge-eating that can sometimes be seen in those who suffer with Parkinson’s disease as they have electrons inserted in the brain to help control symptoms.

Further Reading

  1. Xiaobing, A.N. Van Den Pol, Rapid binge-like eating and body weight gain driven by zona incerta GABA neuron activation’ Science 26 May 2017, Vol. 356, Issue 6340, pp. 853-859
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7100

Available Online: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6340/853