globeandmail.com: Attention-deficit disorder linked to obesity
"ADHD is a primary cause of failing to lose weight for tens of thousands of people," said Dr. Levy, who is with the Nutritional and Eating Disorders Clinic. "Obese people are three to five times more likely to have it than the regular population. And if you treat them, you will see a significant weight loss."Dr. Levy and his co-authors - psychologist John Fleming and dietitian Doreen Klar - have just published their groundbreaking research in the International Journal of Obesity, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal.
Their study of 242 obese patients found that 32 per cent had ADHD, compared with 4 to 7 per cent in the general population. When treated for ADHD, the patients were able to lose 12 per cent of their body weight within 14 months. These patients, who were given psycho-stimulants to increase the dopamine in their brains, had tried and failed to lose weight for at least a decade.
Obese people with ADHD cannot respond to the signals in their brains that tell them when they are hungry and when they are full. "Their stomachs stretch and they can tolerate a degree of fullness that would make the average person throw up," Dr. Levy said.