Prader-Willi syndrome and hyperphagia: an update

Journal article citation:
Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 8(5), 2014, pp.321-330.

Purpose: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder characterised by excessive appetite and progressive obesity. The causes of hyperphagia (the desire to keep eating) are unknown and this has implications on treatment limiting the options available. This paper systematically synthesises the latest evidence regarding all causes as well as management of hyperphagia in people with PWS. Design/methodology/approach: A computer-based literature search, citation tracking and related articles search was undertaken. Primary research studies using genetically confirmed Prader-Willi participants specifically focused on the causes and treatment of overeating was included. Studies were described, critically analysed, presented and discussed in the review. Findings: In total, 18 relevant studies were identified. Nine studies were included in the causes of hyperphagia and focused largely on the roles of secretory hormones, and reward-related areas of the brain. Nine studies were included in the management of hyperphagia and related to physical exercise and food control, antidiabetic agents and weight loss surgery. Originality/value: The causes and the management of hyperphagia are still to be determined despite promising findings. The small number and heterogeneity of the included studies and participants limits conclusions. There is the need for future research to use larger systematic studies to validate findings so far. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
literature reviews, Prader-Willi syndrome, therapy and treatment, obesity, intervention;
Content type:
systematic review
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