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Parkinson and binge eating: a new study investigates the reason why

New SISSA research has identified working memory impairment and an alteration in reward sensitivity among binge eating possible origins

Binge eating, as if the impulse of the moment could not be contrasted by a deeper thought, which would lead to maintaining a healthier eating behaviour. The results of a new study conducted by Damiano Terenzi, Raffaella Rumiati and Marilena Aiello of SISSA (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati), in association with the doctors of Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti di Trieste, show that “binge eating”, which affects some Parkinson patients, would be associated to an impairment of a cognitive function called “working memory”. This deficit would cause the patients to gorge themselves on, since it would prevent them keeping in memory the long-term goal of a healthy eating behaviour. A fault in this mechanism had already been associated with eating disorders which typically affects adolescents. In the study, published in “Parkinsonism and Related Disorders” journal, the authors also investigated reward sensitivity and, its components i.e. liking (the pleasure connected with the consumption of food) and wanting (the desire to obtain food).