Can Early Life Trauma Trigger Obesity? Study Finds

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Can Early Life Trauma Trigger Obesity

Mental Health News

A team of researchers at Virginia Tech explored the link between early life trauma and binge-eating disorder. The study is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The Study

The researchers studied a hormone called leptin in the brains of laboratory mice. Leptin is known to suppress appetite and weight gain by signaling the brain that it’s time to stop eating.

The Findings

The results revealed that mice that experienced early life stress exhibited binge-eating behavior. This is because experiences of stress have altered leptin regulation in a part of the brain called the lateral hypothalamus, thereby triggering disordered eating, binge eating and obesity.

The authors added: “We wanted to know the mechanism underlying how early life trauma induces these eating disorders. What we found is a specific brain circuit that is vulnerable to stress—causing it to become dysfunctional [and triggering the risk of binge eating].

The researchers look to effective interventions around stress management and leptin regulation to treat binge eating and address health conditions like obesity.

To Know More You May Refer To

Shin, S., You, I. J., Jeong, M., Bae, Y., Wang, X. Y., Cawley, M. L., Han, A., & Lim, B. K. (2022). Early adversity promotes binge-like eating habits by remodeling a leptin-responsive lateral hypothalamus-brainstem pathway. Nature neuroscience, 10.1038/s41593-022-01208-0. Advance online publication.

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