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article imageNarcolepsy drug helps food addicts lose weight

By Tim Sandle     Dec 22, 2016 in Health
A drug, designed to address the causes of narcolepsy, seems to assist with weight loss according to a new study. The findings suggest that overweight people could be given the sleep disorder medication.
The drug, tests reveal, appears to reduce the impulse for food and with feeling hungry. The basis of using the drug is with food being an addiction for some people, and a form of physical addiction rather than a mental disorder (as with a lack of self-control).
The researchers indicate that some people develop a physical addiction to foods high in fat and rich in sugar. This arises due to a release of the hormone dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by the brain that plays a number of roles, and these include pleasure and reward.
Imperial College London scientists noted that food addicts have a deficiency with dopamine and this means that their sense of reward and pleasure diminishes. This means affected people need to eat to achieve the same level of pleasure as other people.
Interestingly a drug designed for narcolepsy appears to counteract the effects. The drug is called Modafinil. According to lead researcher, Professor Ivo Vlaev the drug “has been shown to reduce impulsiveness in a variety of disorders such as alcohol dependence, schizophrenia and ADHD. Food addicts suffer from the same neurobiological conditions.”
To test out the drug the researchers conducted several trials on 60 men aged between 19 and 32. Half of the group were given a placebo, 20 were given a standard drug and 20 were administered Modafinil. The results showed those given Modafinil had a significantly reduced level of impulsiveness. There were no changes with the other two groups. The inference is that Modafinil has an effect on impulsivity in healthy individuals and therefore it is worthy of further study.
The research is published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, with the paper headed “Pharmacological manipulation of impulsivity: A randomized controlled trial.”
More about Weight loss, Obesity, Medicine, narcolepsy
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