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© 2017 Objectives To refine the biobehavioral markers of binge eating disorder (BED). Methods We conducted fMRI brain scans using images of high energy processed food (HEPF), low energy unprocessed food (LEUF), or non-foods (NF) in 42 adults (obese with BED [obese -BED; n = 13] and obese with no BED [obese non-BED; n = 29]) selected via ads. Two blood oxygenated level dependent (BOLD) signal contrast maps were examined: food versus nonfood, and HEPF versus LEUF. In addition, score differences on the disinhibition scale were correlated with BOLD signals. Results food versus nonfood showed greater BOLD activity for BED in emotional, motivational and somatosensory brain areas: insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), Brodmann areas (BA) 19 & 32, inferior parietal lobule (IPL), posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and lingual, postcentral, middle temporal and cuneate gyri (p ≤ 0.005; k ≥ 88). HEPF versus LEUF showed greater BOLD activity for BED in inhibitory brain regions: BA 6, middle and superior frontal gyri (p < 0.01; k ≥ 119). The groups also differed in the relationships between disinhibition and BOLD activity in the postcentral gyrus (PCG; p = 0.04) and ACC-BA 32 (p = 0.02). For all participants jointly, PCG BOLD amplitude predicted greater disinhibition (p = 0.04). Discussion Food images elicited neural activity indicating attention bias (cuneate & PCG), emotion dysregulation (BA 19 & 32), and disinhibition (MFG, BA6 & SFG) in obese with BED. These may help tailor a treatment for the obesity with BED phenotype.

Original publication




Journal article


Physiology and Behavior

Publication Date





122 - 128