Journal article Open Access

Gastric interoception and gastric myoelectrical activity in bulimia nervosa and binge‐eating disorder

Van Dyck, Zoé; Schulz, André; Blechert, Jens; Herbert, Beate. M.; Lutz, Annika P. C.; Vögele, Claus

Objective

Identifying factors that control food intake is crucial to the understanding and treatment of eating disorders characterized by binge eating. In healthy individuals, stomach distension plays an important role in the development of satiation, but gastric sensations might be overridden in binge eating. The present study investigated the perception of gastric signals (i.e., gastric interoception) and gastric motility in patients experiencing binge‐eating episodes, that is, bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge‐eating disorder (BED).

Method

Twenty‐nine patients with BN or BED (ED group) and 32 age‐, sex‐, and BMI‐matched healthy controls (HC group) participated in the study. The onset of satiation and stomach fullness were assessed using a novel 2‐step water load test (WLT‐II). Gastric myoelectrical activity (GMA) was measured by electrogastrography (EGG) before and after ingestion of noncaloric water.

Results

Individuals in the ED group drank significantly more water until reporting satiation during the WLT‐II. The percentage of normal gastric myoelectrical power was significantly smaller in the ED group compared to HC, and negatively related to the number of objective binge‐eating episodes per week in patients with BN or BED. Power in the bradygastria range was greater in ED than in HC participants.

Discussion

Patients with EDs have a delayed response to satiation compared to HC participants, together with abnormal GMA. Repeated binge‐eating episodes may induce disturbances to gastric motor function.

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