Nav: Home

IDIBELL-researchers negatively correlate a neuropeptide with executive functions

June 12, 2019

Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and the group of Eating Disorders, of the Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB), led by Dr. Fernando Fernández-Aranda, published in Scientific Reports (Nature) a study that negatively correlates the concentration of orexin A (a neuropeptide) with the executive functions in anorexic patients. The study is part of the research program "Neurocognition and extreme weight conditions: from anorexia to obesity", carried out at the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBEROBN).

"We have evaluated the association between the concentration of the neuropeptide orexin A from blood plasma and the neuropsychological faculties in adult women, and we have been able to establish a negative correlation, i.e. the more concentration of orexin, lesser the adequacy of executive functions in patients" comments Dr. Fernández-Aranda. 102 adult women, 51 of them with anorexia nervosa, all of whom were treated in the HUB, participated in the study; the other half were healthy women. Male representatives have been excluded due to the low prevalence of men in this disorder.

In patients with anorexia, there are usually changes in decision making, difficulties in adapting to new situations (inflexibility) and to see the general context of what they observe (excessive fixation in details), high rigidity and perfectionism and, in some cases, high levels of impulsivity.

Orexins, also called hypocretins, are neuropeptides (substances of the nervous system) used by neurons to communicate with each other. In previous studies it has been observed that orexins are involved in a variety of mechanisms, such as food intake and cognition, sleep disorders, among others.

One of the main objectives of Dr. Fernández Aranda's research group is studying the interaction between biological, cognitive and clinical factors. To achieve this, they are looking for neurobiological markers that can explain cognitive processes and those of diseases (such as anorexia, bulimia or obesity) and behavioral addictions. "That's why we wanted to study whether orexin A could play an important role in psychiatric disorders such as anorexia," justifies Dr. Fernández Aranda.

Once patients with anorexia have recovered, the decision-making levels are also more appropriate, meaning that they are reversible. For this reason, it would be of great interest to explore if the improvement of decision-making observed during the recovery of anorexia is related to changes in levels of orexin A. This way, we could assure a biomarker with potential clinical applications.
-end-


IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

Related Eating Disorders Articles:

Prior eating disorders linked to long-term depression risk for mothers
A history of eating disorders and body image concerns before or during pregnancy are associated with future depressive symptoms among mothers, finds a new UCL-led study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Study of teens with eating disorders compares substance users and non-users
A study of teens in eating disorder outpatient treatment compares long term results and drop-out rates of casual substance (alcohol, tobacco, drugs) users and non-substance users.
Men's porn habits could fuel partners' eating disorders, study suggests
A woman whose boyfriend or husband regularly watches pornography is more likely to report symptoms of an eating disorder, new research suggests.
How common are eating disorders in young children?
The frequency of eating disorder diagnoses was low among US children ages 9 to 10 in an analysis of data from another study.
Prevalence of eating disorders taken from largest sample in the United States
Biological Psychiatry has published a new study revising the outdated estimates of the prevalence of eating disorders in the United States.
More Eating Disorders News and Eating Disorders Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...