gms | German Medical Science

4. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e. V. (DGESS)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e. V.

20.03. - 22.03.2014, Leipzig

Dissociating between anticipation and receipt of food related rewards in patients with binge eating disorder using an abstract incentive delay task

Meeting Abstract

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Essstörungen e.V. (DGESS). 4. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Essstörungen. Leipzig, 20.-22.03.2014. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2014. Doc14dgess036

doi: 10.3205/14dgess036, urn:nbn:de:0183-14dgess0368

Published: March 17, 2014

© 2014 Friederich et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Binge eating disorder (BED) is a prevalent eating disorder characterized by recurrent binge eating episdes associated with a sense of loss of control over eating. The underlying neural mechanisms of BED are largely unknown, but an elevated sensitivity for primary rewards such as food, mediated via alterations in neural reward pathways, has been proposed. Understanding these mechanisms can help in the development of improved prevention and treatment strategies. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to identify the underlying neural mechanisms of reward processing in BED.

Material/Methods: We used an fMRI probe to elicit neural responses to food related reward. The task allows to distinguish between the anticipation and the receipt of abstract food related reward. 28 subjects with BED and 26 healthy control subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging whilst completing the task.

Results: During the expectation of a food reward compared to the expectation of no reward; patients with BED showed a reduced activation in the dorsal striatum as compared to healthy controls. During the receipt of a food reward compared to the receipt of no reward, patients showed a stronger activation in the primary gustatory cortex (insula), medial orbitofrontal cortex, lateral orbitofrontal/inferior frontal cortex, as well as the precuneus.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that BED patients may show hedonically driven overeating (“liking”) represented by increased orbitofrontal cortex activation, coupled with decreased incentive salience (“wanting”) of food rewards represented by decreased dorsal striatum activation. This study provides first evidence of differential brain activation to both the expectation and receipt of food related rewards in patients with BED.