Psychophysiological Indices of the Feeding Response in Anorexia Nervosa Patients

  • R. Hölzl
  • S. Lautenbacher


The question as to whether and how afferent signals from the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), and from the stomach in particular, regulate food intake has been a classic issue at least since Cannon and Washburn (1912). Despite later refutations of their concept of “hunger contractions” as the direct stimulus to eat, and some controversy between “centralists” and “peripheralists” in the animal literature, the role of feedback from the GIT in food intake regulation is now generally accepted (Konturek and Rösch 1976; Booth 1978). Neglecting effects of “conditioned hunger” and “appetites” for the moment, it seems that initiation of eating is governed mainly by hypothalamic centers according to humoral factors. Termination of meals, however, is under the control of a “fast feedback loop”, in which afferent information from the GIT about gastric filling and nutritional composition of food ingested serves as control variable in conjunction with olfactory and gustatory stimuli arising during oral stages of ingestion. Contents absorbed from the intestines and blood concentrations of nutritional substances provide second- and third-stage feedback signals with longer time constants. They mainly determine the length of interdigestive intervals and not termination of intake.


Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Test Meal Feeding Response Anorectic Patient 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Hölzl
  • S. Lautenbacher

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