Testing the dual pathway model of ADHD in obesity: a pilot study
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There may be shared neuropsychological dysfunctions in ADHD and obesity. This study tested a neuropsychological model of ADHD (reward/executive dysfunctioning) in individuals with obesity. Furthermore, the association between co-morbid binge eating and reward/executive dysfunction was explored.
Reward/executive dysfunctioning was assessed using both neuropsychological measures and questionnaires in individuals (aged 17–68) with obesity (N = 39; mean BMI = 39.70) and normal weight (N = 25; mean BMI = 22.94).
No significant differences emerged between individuals with and without obesity on the outcome measures. However, individuals with obesity and binge eating showed significantly more self-reported delay discounting and inattention than those individuals with obesity but without binge eating. When controlling for inattention, this difference in delay discounting was no longer significant.
Not obesity alone but obesity with binge eating was specifically associated with a mechanism often reported in ADHD, namely delay discounting. However, this effect may be more driven by inattention.
KeywordsADHD Obesity Binge eating Executive functioning Reward
The authors like to thank An Strauven and Ward Proost of the Obesity Clinic of the General Hospital in Mol and students Eva Van Den Broeck, Charlotte Van Dorst, Fien De Vliegher, and Margaux Gijbels for their help with the data collection and data input.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Saskia van der Oord has received a consultant fee from Janssen Cilag and has received a speaker honorarium from MEDICE and Shire. Talks and consultancy were all on topics related to non-pharmacological treatments. Caroline Braet declares that she has no conflict of interest. Samuel Cortese declares that he has no conflict of interest. Laurence Claes declares that she has no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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