First Imaging Study to Implicate Brain Opioids Could Explain Addictive Nature of Behavioral Disorder, Say Johns Hopkins Researchers
The role of the brain’s opioid receptor system—or endorphin system—may hold the key to understanding and treating bulimia nervosa, according to research reported in the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s August issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
"Involvement of the opioid system may explain the addictive quality of this behavioral disorder," said Angela Guarda, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. The first imaging study to implicate the opioid system in bulimia nervosa shows differences in women with bulimia compared to healthy women, added J. James Frost, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins and co-author of "Regional ì-Opioid Receptor Binding in Insular Cortex Is Decreased in Bulimia Nervosa and Correlates Inversely With Fasting Behavior." In the study, eight women with bulimia were compared to healthy women of the same age and weight. Their brains were scanned using positron emission tomography (PET) after injection with the short-acting radioactive compound carfentanil, which binds to mu-opioid receptors in the brain, explained Frost. PET is a powerful medical imaging procedure that noninvasively uses special imaging systems and radioactive tracers to produce pictures of the function and metabolism of the cells in the body. He noted, "We found that mu-opioid receptor binding in bulimic women was lower than in healthy women in the left insular cortex. The insula is involved in processing taste, as well as the anticipation and reward of eating, and has been implicated in studies of other driven behavioral disorders, including drug addiction and gambling.”
Maryann Verrillo | EurekAlert!
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
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Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
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