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FOOD ON THE BRAIN

Swiss researchers report a new eating disorder in which patients with right-brain damage suddenly become compulsively addicted to thinking about and eating fine food. They've dubbed the disorder "gourmand syndrome," after the French word for food lover or glutton.

The finding offers further evidence of the different roles played by the left and right hemispheres of the brain, the researchers said, and suggests that obsession with fine food "can represent a neurological sign" that might help diagnose brain damage in previously normal eaters. The researchers called gourmand syndrome "a benign, non-disabling form of (overeating), but with a specific preference for fine food."

Patients with gourmand syndrome often showed evidence of other types of "diminished impulse control," including heightened aggression, verbal outbursts and indifference.

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