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Environmental and metabolic determinants of binge-eating behaviour

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Studying the effect of acute stress on metabolic and neural determinants of binge-eating behaviour



  • Contact name

    Paul Fletcher

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    University of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    3 years, 0 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    Our eating behaviour can be affected by our mood. Negative mood states in particular can cause people to lose their appetite or overeat, and this may be important for people with eating disorders. We know that eating behaviour is usually controlled by complex interactions between the brain and certain circulating hormones in the blood. Changes in our environment that lead to negative mood can affect our brain, as well as the levels of specific circulating hormones in our bloodstream. This study aims to explore how this happens and its relevance to eating disorders. We will invite healthy women and those suffering with anorexia nervosa (binge-purge subtype) and bulimia nervosa to participate. Interested volunteers will first complete an outpatient screening session at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, UK before returning for a two-day study session. During the study session, subjects will be asked to complete a series of questionnaires, computer tasks and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scanning, and we will collect blood samples at several time points to measure feeding and mood-related hormones. One of the brain scans includes a task that may be unpleasant to some volunteers, and the other scan will not include this task. We will collect several blood samples during the brain scans, so we can measure how both brain activity and hormones in blood are affected by the two mood states. The results of this study will aid the development of new treatment methods for loss-of-control eating in women with eating disorders.

  • REC name

    East of England - Cambridge East Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    16 Aug 2017

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion