Binge-eating is very common in the U.S.
As the UPenn team suggests, binge-eating disorder is considered the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting at least a few million people.
It frequently involves binge-eating episodes without bulimia-like purging and is frequently linked to obesity. The person who is bingeing feels as though they are losing control over their food, so they eat past when they normally feel full.
Cravings for certain preferred meals occur by binge-eating disorder episodes. In a 2018 study using mice and humans, Halpern and his colleagues discovered evidence that specific low-frequency electrical activity in the nucleus accumbens emerges shortly before these cravings—but not before regular, non-binge-eating.
In order to stop this craving-related activity whenever it happened, the researchers activated the nucleus accumbens in mice. They discovered the mice consumed substantially less of a delectable, high-calorie diet than they otherwise would have.
There is still a lot of work to be done
Even if this research does point toward a future in which brain implants might be able to control impulsive behaviors like excessive eating, there is still a lot of work to be done before researchers fully understand how to achieve this. Additional participants will be sought for this ongoing study to further hone the technology.