The researchers revealed their findings after discovering that obese or severely overweight people and those suffering with anorexia, share a similar condition that affects the brain, even though they are literally at opposite ends of the scale.
It was concluded that both obese and anorexic people have executive function disorders (EFD), which results in them struggling to organise their daily lives. Previous studies have drawn links between anorexia and executive function disorder and scientists can point to the strictness that those with the eating disorder apply, not only to food, but also to their whole lives as evidence of the brain disorder.
Now researchers from the University of NSW have discovered that obese people are prone to executive function disorder too, after reviewing 38 studies on obesity and high-level brain function.
However, where EFD can encourage anorexic people to have a rigid way of life, it affects obese people in the opposite way, making them too flexible and unable to solve certain problems. Scientists have deduced that EDF can play havoc with an obese person’s brain when it comes to food, affecting their ability to plan diets and to associate bad food choices to weight gain.
Cognitive remediation therapy, a form of psychological counselling, has seen some success for anorexics as it strengthens thinking skills. This therapy is also used to treat people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Schizophrenia.
Lead researcher at the University of NSW, Evelyn Smith, now believes this type of therapy could help obese people to combat their weight issues as diets and exercise programmes fail them.
A trial will begin involving 10 obese people, who will undergo cognitive remediation therapy for a month to see if this can help them to lose weight.
View the original New Zealand Herald article here.