WJAR: Does your body clock cause binge eating?

UC researcher explores melatonin, light therapy to treat binge eating behavior

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are exploring how the body's sleep-wake cycles of circadian rhythms affect patients with binge eating disorder.

"Binge eating disorder is the most prevalent eating disorder, and unfortunately there's still very limited options or targeted options,” said Francisco Romo-Nava, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at UC, associate chief research officer for the Research Institute at the Lindner Center of HOPE and a UC Health physician scientist.

Romo-Nava said about 5% of the population is categorized as a true "night owl," and past research suggests this group might be more susceptible to binge eating behavior since binge eating tends to occur in the evening and night.

Romo-Nava and his team are studying if readjusting the circadian rhythms of people with binge eating disorder through melatonin or light therapy could be an effective treatment.

Watch the WJAR report. 

Read more about the study.

Featured photo at top of Dr. Romo-Nava. Photo/Colleen Kelley/University of Cincinnati.