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Eating Behaviors



Eating Behaviors Research Faculty
Marc Cornier, MD
Guido Frank, MD
Jason Tregellas, PhD


Dr Cornier is interested in defining how obesity resistant humans respond centrally, behaviorally, and metabolically to positive or negative energy balance. His primary focus is to evaluate the effects of energy imbalance on neuronal activation using functional magnetic resonance imaging. In previous studies his group as observed that thin individuals quickly sense changes in energy balance with significant changes in measures of hunger and satiety while obese-prone individuals do not appear to appropriately sense short-term changes in energy intake. It therefore appears that there is a central regulation of energy intake which is altered by changes in energy balance. The role of the brain in the regulation of energy balance has long been recognized and has been an area of intense research. A great deal has been learned about the hypothalamic or homeostatic regulation of energy intake. It is clear, however, that food intake is a much more complex process, especially in humans in which psychosocial factors play a critical role and in which the process of eating is likely to be controlled by reward and learned behaviors. Dr Cornier’s long term goal is to gain a better understanding of the central regulation of ingestive behavior. In addition, he is interested in understanding the adaptations to changes in energy balance in thin, obese-resistant as compared to individuals at risk for weight gain and obesity in our environment. Populations examined include lean ‘obesity resistant’, obese and reduced obese individuals.  These studies are designed to examine whether differences in the adaptive response to overfeeding may protect some individuals from weight gain in an obesity promoting environment. The central hypothesis of Dr Cornier’s research is that the regulation of food intake is a complex process requiring the integration of multiple sensory inputs and learned behaviors in the context of background energy balance. Specifically, the motivational state of the individual as manipulated by changes in energy balance will result in the activation or inhibition of specific brain regions involved with the processing and integration of the incentive value and reward of food, and these changes neuronal activity will be associated with feeding behaviors.



Developmental Brain Research:
Eating Disorders and Impulsive Aggression

Guido K.W. Frank, MD 
Assistant Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 
Department of Psychiatry 
University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
The Children's Hospital, East Pavilion Building 
13123 East 16th Avenue 
Aurora, CO 80045
Tel.: 720-777-1909  

This program uses behavioral tasks together with modern biologic techniques, such as brain imaging, in order to study brain function in children, adolescents, and adults. Through such work, we aim to identify mechanisms for serious psychiatric disorders, how such mechanisms change over time, and the effect of certain interventions on behavior and associated brain function. By increasing our understanding of how these brain mechanisms contribute to and shape mental illness, we expect to better identify effective treatments for individual patients.

Our program currently focuses on two main areas of study:
Our primary area of interest is the study of Eating Disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder.
The second area of interest involves aggression, with a particular focus on Impulsive Aggression in youth. This type of aggression is commonly associated with oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder, but can occur in other conditions as well.

Participate in Research Studies

If you are:

  • Currently suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder and you are between 12 and 45 years old
  • Recovered from Anorexia Nervosa for at least one year and between 18 and 45 years old
  • A Healthy Control girl or woman between the ages 12 and 45 years old
  • And you are interested in participating in our research studies

Please contact:    Leah Jappe
Telephone:           720-777-4026
Compensation for your participation is provided.