Researchers Offer Vaccine: Link Impulsive Behavior to Food Addiction
Are you impulsive?
According to researchers at the University of Georgia, you may be overweight and have addiction problems because of this “personality flaw”.
James MacKillop, lead author and associate professor of psychology at the UoG Franklin College of Arts and Sciences (FCAS), explained that “the notion of food addiction has generated a lot of interest in recent years. We think it’s possible to think about impulsivity, food addiction and obesity using some of the same techniques.”
This study is expected to further research into plans, treatments and interventions for overweight and obese persons.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that because 1/3rd of Americans are obese, they are vulnerable to:
• Heart disease
• Type 2 diabetes
MacKillop said: “Our study shows that impulsive behavior was not necessarily associated with obesity, but impulsive behaviors can lead to food addiction.”
Using the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) and the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale (IBS), researchers analyzed data from 233 volunteers. This data was pitted against participant’s body mass index (BMI) to indicate propensity toward obesity.
Conversely, the team pointed out that “because someone exhibits impulsive behavior does not mean they will become obese, but an increase in certain impulsive behaviors is linked to food addiction, which appeared to be the driving force behind higher BMI in study participants.”
MacKillop explained: “Modern neuroscience has helped us understand how substances like drugs and alcohol co-opt areas of the brain that evolved to release dopamine and create a sense of happiness or satisfaction. And now we realize that certain types of food also hijack these brain circuits and lay the foundation for compulsive eating habits that are similar to drug addiction.”
Kim D. Janda, professor at the Scripps Research Institute, believes that immunizations against nicotine addiction is “an alternative or better way for some people” as a “system to get people off the drugs.”
Janda’s vaccines cause the immune system to produce antibodies that control the brain’s response to narcotics prior to the onset of addiction. This is based on the hypothesis that addiction causes physical changes in the brain and has spurned medical advocacy for solving America’s drug problems with immunizations.
The “scientific principle” is “simplistically stupid” according to Janda.
Vaccines introduce a foreign substance into the blood that coerces the immune system to develop antibodies; however molecules like cocaine, nicotine and methamphetamine are smaller than disease molecules. This means that the immune system ignores them.
To ensure the vaccine effects the immune system, a chemical cocktail is used to coerce the production of antibodies. Janda claims that this process does not “mess with brain chemistry.”
However Janda says that the vaccine works by “blocking the pleasure centers in the brain” that respond to either the synthetic or actual drug, i.e. nicotine. “These vaccines would be very useful for those weak moments.”
In 2011, Janda’s team successfully produced a vaccine that would blunt the effects of heroin on the brains of rats. However, when introduced in human trials, Janda’s vaccine was no more effective than placebo in forcing people to quit smoking. And even still the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Janda’s vaccines for use on the general public.
Janda admits that “the big problem plaguing these vaccines right now is difficulty predicting in humans how well it’s going to work.”
The human immune system is extremely complex, which is why animals testing yields incredible results; their genetic constitution is less intricate. Scientists find that by adding proteins and chemicals to molecules to induce antibody production, they obtain a desired result. Based on addiction as a biological disorder, a vaccine would be a plausible answer.