Food and Behaviour Research

Donate Log In

Reward sensitivity in Parkinson's patients with binge eating

Terenzi D, Rumiati RI, Catalan M, Antonutti L, Furlanis G, Garlasco P, Polverino P, Bertolotti C, Manganotti P, Aiello M (2018) Parkinsonism Relat Disord.  2018 Mar.  pii: S1353-8020(18)30121-4. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2018.03.007. [Epub ahead of print] 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here



Parkinson's disease (PD) patients who are treated with dopamine replacement therapy are at risk of developing impulse control disorders (ICDs) (such as gambling, binge eating, and others). According to recent evidence, compulsive reward seeking in ICDs may arise from an excessive attribution of incentive salience (or 'wanting') to rewards.


In this study, we tested this hypothesis in patients with PD who developed binge eating (BE).


Patients with BE, patients without BE, and healthy controls performed different experimental tasks assessing food liking and wanting. Participants first rated the degree of liking and wanting for different foods using explicit self-report measures. They then performed an affective priming task that measured participants' affective reactions towards foods (liking), and a grip-force task that assessed their motivation for food rewards (wanting). All participants also completed several questionnaires assessing impulsivity, reward sensitivity, anxiety and depression, and underwent a neuropsychological evaluation.


Patients with BE displayed an altered liking for sweet foods compared to controls but not to patients without BE. Furthermore, this difference emerged only when implicit measures were used. Importantly, an increased wanting was not associated with binge eating even if wanting, but not liking scores significantly correlated with LED levodopa, confirming the hypothesis of a distinction between the two components of rewards. Lastly, binge eating was associated with depression and lower working memory scores.


Take together these results suggest that binge eating in PD is associated with cognitive abnormalities, and to lesser extent affective abnormalities, but not with an increased incentive salience.


See the associated news article here: