The University of North Carolina Medical School will conduct the study called BEGIN (or the Binge Eating Genetics Initiative) to better understand eating disorders that cause people to ingest large amounts of food in an uncontrolled manner in a short period of time.
People who exercise or exercise excessively after drinking are commonly diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. The study will enroll 1
Each participant will receive a free Apple Watch, courtesy of Apple, allowing researchers to monitor their heart rate to see if there are spikes before binge eating episodes.
Enrolled attendees also sign up with a mobile app called Recovery Record that allows them to log their thoughts and feelings to present to a healthcare professional prior to a session.
In addition, participants will receive tests to analyze their genetics and body bacteria so that researchers can better understand the causes of the disease.
"We need to collect data from a lot of people to see what it looks like," said Cynthia Bulik, founding director of the Cluster of Excellence for Eating Disorders and author of Binge Control: A Compact Recovery Guide. "We want to know if it has a biological and a behavioral signature."
Ultimately, the researchers hope that the data collected could help predict episodes of binge eating. Ideally, this could lead to a follow-up study in which participants receive a kind of alarm when threatened with binge eating.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people in the US suffer from an eating disorder, yet the research area remains underfunded.