Food for thought

Published: Monday 15 September 1997

For some people, the burning desire for fine foods may be an indication of a subtle brain damage, say Swiss researchers. Marianne Regard of University hospital, Zurich and Teodor Landis of Hospital Cantonal Univeresitaire de Geneve, Geneva, term the disorder as "Gourmand Syndrome". They suggest abnormal serotonin activation may play a role in the syndrome. Serotonin is a compound in the blood serum that acts as a neurotransmitter. Suspicions of the researchers were first aroused when two patients suddenly developed an interest in food after suffering brain haemorrhages. They reached the conclusion after studying 723 patients with known or suspected single brain damages, out of which 36 had gourmand syndrome ( The Lancet , Vol 349 No 9065).

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