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The Neurobiology of Eating Disorders

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Around one in every twenty Australians has an eating disorder. These are serious mental illnesses characterised by obsessive thoughts about food and body weight and frequently co-occur with a wide r

When we look at our understanding of eating disorders it soon becomes apparent that we are facing something that is multifaceted in nature and involves a complex set of causes and behaviours.

The research on eating disorders is extensive and from this, several prevailing theories seek to address underlying causes.

One of the ways we can begin to understand eating disorders is through the lens of neurobiology.

In this episode, we explore this area with a psychiatrist who specialises in the neuroscience and treatment of eating disorders.

Dr Jeffrey DeSarbo is a physician and psychiatrist who completed his medical internship and training in psychiatry through the New York University residency program and he is a graduate of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr DeSarbo’s special interest in neurosciences has led him to a unique approach to assessing and treating eating disorders as well as other psychiatric conditions.

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Additional Infomation

At the 30:55 minute mark of the interview with Dr DeSarbo, I made reference to a paper that was published late last year looking at the bioaccumulation of pharmaceutical drugs by gut bacteria. This is a fascinating paper, published in September 2021 in Nature, and shows that bioaccumulation of pharmaceuticals by gut bacteria may be a common mechanism that alters drug availability and bacterial metabolism.

Here is the reference:

Klünemann M, Andrejev S, Blasche S, Mateus A, Phapale P, Devendran S, Vappiani J, Simon B, Scott TA, Kafkia E, Konstantinidis D, Zirngibl K, Mastrorilli E, Banzhaf M, Mackmull MT, Hövelmann F, Nesme L, Brochado AR, Maier L, Bock T, Periwal V, Kumar M, Kim Y, Tramontano M, Schultz C, Beck M, Hennig J, Zimmermann M, Sévin DC, Cabreiro F, Savitski MM, Bork P, Typas A, Patil KR. Bioaccumulation of therapeutic drugs by human gut bacteria. Nature. 2021 Sep;597(7877):533-538. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03891-8. Epub 2021 Sep 8. PMID: 34497420.

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