Kelly Klump, a psychology professor in MSU, is currently conducting tests on rats to detect different biological and genetic factors that are linked with binge eating.
Klump and her team studied two different strains of rats - Sprague-Dawley and Wistar rats - to determine if one strain was prone to binge eating. For two weeks, Klump and colleagues ran a feeding experiment with 30 Sprague-Dawley female rats and 23 Wistar rats.
The rats were given their usual meal of "chow" (like chicken and vegetables for humans) and intermittently, vanilla frosting.
Britny Hildebrandt, a graduate student in the Klump lab said that they only gave the rats the vanilla frosting every other day as that mimics human binge eating habits.
What Klump and her team found was that the rate of binge eating on vanilla frosting was much higher in Sprague-Dawley female rats.
Klump said that now that they e know that the Sprague-Dawley rats are prone to binge eating, this helps narrow the scope of the thousands of possible genes that could contribute to this disorder.
She said that they can now study the strain to identify the genes that might contribute to the disease, asserting that from there, they can map these genes in humans.
Klump said that if they can narrow down to 20 or so genes, then we are one step closer to finding an effective treatment for binge eating.
The study has been published online in Physiology and Behavior.