Study Finds Link Between Brain Activity And Anorexia

anorexia and brain researchA study has suggested that differences in brain activity may be an underlying cause of some of the unhealthy eating patterns that people with anorexia nervosa develop.

The study, which took place in New York found that those who had been hospitalised for the disorder activated unique areas of their brains when making decisions between various foods. In order to test this, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which tracks blood flow in the brain. They did this on a group of women who had recently been hospitalised for anorexia and compared it to another group of healthy women.

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People Behind Thinspiration Websites Could Face Prison

France and eating disordersLast month a socialist MP from France, Olivier Veran called for a ban on skinny models in order to prevent the glorification of anorexia. Although this proposal has been dropped on the grounds that it would violate France’s employment laws, the country has announced that a new amendment has just been passed which will see anyone running pro-anorexia websites or promoting extreme thinness online face prison time or a hefty fine.

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Actor Ashley Hamilton Reveals Eating Disorder History

Ashley Gamilton Eating DisorderRecently playing a role in the blockbuster Iron Man 3 film, Ashley Hamilton has certainly enjoyed a fair share of success over the past few years. With wealth and fame following, Ashley has recently opened up about a very personal and intimate challenge in his life: bulimia and anorexia.

Ashley’s problems with these eating disorders have persisted since his teenage years and are not the only problems faced by the Hollywood star. Difficulties in past years with drugs and alcohol have plagued the young star’s younger life.  With six years of sobriety under his belt, Ashley has told press that he feels there remains the challenge of publicly admitting and conquering his eating disorder difficulties. While Ashley has disclosed that the eating disorder issues were prevalent before his drug and alcohol problems he claims they may be linked in his circumstance, stating “I believe it was my problem before I got into drugs and alcohol. I used the drugs and alcohol to control the food addiction." 

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Anorexia and Bulimia may be Caused by Altered Brain Pathways

Image ProblemsA study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has found a possible link between altered neural circuitry and anorexia and bulimia. The findings suggest that the altered wiring in the brain may contribute to the restrictive eating habits in people with eating disorders.

This new information could help scientists design new and better methods for treating eating disorders.

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Meditation May Help Improve Body Image of Those With Eating Disorders

Meditation and Body ImageFor many, analysing how we view our mind and body is not a consideration or common thought. It is often an instinctive, unconsidered element of our lives and study of it does not seem relative or immediately useful. That said, many in the west are turning to practices such as meditation and analysis of their opinions of their mind and body in order to help improve their quality of life. The topic of the ego and how we view our thoughts as well as our bodies is becoming an increasingly popular subject, with many meditation retreats and coaching services spreading across the western world.

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Number of Teens Suffering from Eating Disorders Continues to Rise

b2ap3_thumbnail_childhood-obesity-family-health.jpgA London led study has confirmed an alarming concern; the numbers of teenagers afflicted with an eating disorder of some form is increasing. The results of this study as more scientific and media attention is focused on the problem of body understanding and confidence.

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Can Virtual Reality Be Used To Treat Eating Disorders?

b2ap3_thumbnail_virtual-reality.jpgResearch conducted in Spain has highlighted the possibility of virtual reality computer programs as a means to help educate individuals suffering from eating disorders.

The study was based around several different scenarios created electronically. The subject of body image disturbance is a significant indicator of possible eating disorders, with individuals suffering from, for instance, bulimia or binge eating viewing their bodies as smaller or larger than reality, respectively. The idea of employing technology in the form of computer programs was first analyzed in 2003, with the recent Canada based follow-up shedding new light on the possibilities of this type of support.

In one of the scenarios created for the purpose of the study, participants were tasked with adjusting the proportions of a computerized body until they felt it matched their own physical bodies. This allowed for clear and immediate indication of an individual being out of touch with their true physical size.

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Gluten-free Dieters Could Be Hiding An Eating Disorder

Anorexia BrainMedical experts have raised concern that individuals following a gluten-free diet may be using this method to disguise the fact they are suffering from an eating disorder.


According to the Daily Beast, some doctors are growing worried that many image-conscious members of the public are diagnosing themselves with a gluten allergy in order to give themselves a socially acceptable way to shed the pounds.

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Woman Seeks Surgery to Treat Anorexia

b2ap3_thumbnail_anorexia-brain.jpgA woman has turned her life around and conquered the eating disorder that plagued her life for almost 20 years by undergoing a revolutionary method of surgery that saw doctors "rewire" her brain.

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Scientists Test Brain Implant for Anorexia

b2ap3_thumbnail_EDNOS.jpgMany people who are diagnosed with anorexia nervosa are led to believe that the mental illness has developed due to emotional problems that have manifested in an obsession with losing weight.

However, this outlook could all be about to change, potentially bringing about new and innovative methods of treatment, after scientists in Canada suggested the use of a brain implant to help those living with the condition.

Researchers have raised the question that deep stimulation in the brain could provide relief for individuals who are suffering from anorexia nervosa.

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Soap Star Opens up about Anorexia Battle

b2ap3_thumbnail_anorexia2.1.jpgThe secretive and painful reality of living with an eating disorder is something that many people can identify with, as the mental illness makes them feel as if there is no one who can understand what they are going through.

Some people who have battled anorexia nervosa or bulimia - or in many instances, both - would claim they believed there was nowhere to turn where they could escape the torture of everyday life.

In many cases, individuals successfully hide their problems from friends and family members for several years, as they become increasingly used to masking the signs of dramatic weight loss and covering up their wider psychological issues.

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Former male anorexia sufferer becomes internet hit

A former anorexia nervosa patient who opened up about his battles with an eating disorder in front of a video camera has become an internet sensation. Simon Metin - a student from King's College, Cambridge - has created a series of blogs that aim to help young men who are going through similar problems seek help for their condition.

The 20-year-old, who has now fully recovered from his battle with food, said he was just 13 when his obsession with dieting began after realising his intake was one of the only things he could control. He admitted he had never heard of anorexia at the time, but would focus on not being able to pinch any excess fat on his body. However, Simon claimed that when he looked in the mirror he would see someone who was getting bigger, not smaller. This is why within just six months, the young male had become anorexic - throwing his lunch in the bin at school and telling his parents - nurse Fay and Turkish-born businessman Yuksel - that he had eaten dinner at a friend's house. "My parents begged, cajoled, pleaded and shouted at me to eat," he said. "But by now I'd memorised the calorie count of every food and allowed myself 200 calories a day." At his worst, Simon weighed just four stone and was told by doctors he had just one month to live. However, the young man - whose battle with eating disorders was first highlighted in 2007 BBC documentary I'm A Boy Anorexic - is now committed to raising awareness of the illness in men. Simon said: "Cambridge gave me a completely fresh start. I've stopped counting calories and these days hardly ever even weigh myself." "While people are aware of anorexia in women, with men it seems to be taboo. I can only hope telling my story can help change that."

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Eating disorders can be misunderstood

A common misconception regarding the reasons why people develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia during their life could be stopping some individuals from seeking the right treatment and their families from noticing the potentially life-threatening issue. The common belief upon discovering someone has an eating disorder is that they are attempting to become as skinny as possible in order to compete with models and actresses who fill the pages of tabloid newspapers.

Although this may be true in some cases, it is this stereotype that could result in thousands of sufferers hiding their issues with food from friends and family members for even longer, making it more difficult to resolve. When reading more deeply into the causes of eating disorders, it is easy to see that the mental illnesses are usually considered to be about control and perfectionism, which are traits a high number of patients are attempting to gain. Georgina Routen, 20, from Northamptonshire is one of many young women whose obsession with getting a handle on her everyday life resulted in her weight plummeting to dangerous levels and requiring professional treatment. Speaking to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, the young lady - who was affected by anorexia from the age of 14 - said it was not until she sought help from the Beat charity that she realised she was not alone. She said: "I was always a perfectionist … And that seems to be a trait that many people who have eating disorders have. I felt subconsiously that I wasn’t good enough compared to the people around me. Now I realise it was twisted, but I felt I could be good at being really thin." Ms Routen revealed to the newspaper what started out as a desire to consume five portions of fruit and vegetables every day soon spiralled out of control and resulted in her performing certain tasks at particular times of day in order to maintain a regimented lifestyle. Now a young ambassador for the eating disorder charity, the former patient said there is often a belief that developing anorexia and bulimia is about looking a certain way. She added: "It definitely crept up on me, it wasn’t, to begin with, about looking thin, I wasn’t even on a diet. I did not need to lose weight, I had a slender build anyway. It was just about being in control." While there are many potential causes that can trigger the start of an eating disorder, there is little to determine exactly why some individuals are affected and others are not - but many experts argue a particular event in a person's life can represent the starting point. BBC Health notes that while there is limited evidence to suggest the illnesses can run in families, it is unclear whether or not those who are raised around someone with anorexia nervosa or bulimia are more likely to develop the conditions themselves. Other factors that are thought to contribute to the start of an eating disorder could include anxiety for some control, a distorted body image, low self-esteem and an expression of deep emotions such as depression that a person struggles to communicate into words.

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More older women living with bulimia

The secretive nature of eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa means the problems can be extremely difficult to identify, leaving those living with the disease to suffer in silence as their symptoms go unnoticed.

And while the common belief among many individuals is that the mental illnesses are primarily endured by teenage girls who develop an obsession with their food intake in an attempt to be as skinny as possible, a more shocking picture is actually the reality. Clinics that treat patients suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia have reported a significant rise in the number of older women seeking professional help for eating disorders. In fact, some 78 per cent of deaths from anorexia occur in women over the age of 50 - which somewhat challenges the stereotype. Many older women develop the conditions after experiencing some kind of trauma or stress in later life, such as a divorce or the loss of a loved one, while others have managed to battle the problem in secret. For this reason, it is important for individuals to increase their knowledge on the symptoms of bulimia - which is usually more difficult to spot - if they are worried about a family member who seems to have been acting unusually in recent months. Among the main telltale signs of bulimia is binge eating, which involves consuming vast quantities of calorific food without having felt hungry or needing to eat, as this can often be carried out as an attempt to deal with emotional problems. The process of binge eating, which can quickly become obsessive, extremely quick and can make individuals feel extremely uncomfortable afterwards. While the majority of people are guilty of overindulging on their favourite desserts or a takeaway meal, those suffering from bulimia do so on a regular basis. Purging, which is another symptom of bulimia, usually comes as a response to binging and involves the emotional feelings of guilt, regret and self-hatred. However, the main impulse in this situation is the fear of gaining weight. Some people purge by making themselves sick or taking laxatives to encourage their body to pass the food quickly, while others take diet pills, carry out extreme exercise or endure periods of starvation to keep the weight off. And new mother Sara from Lanarkshire, who spoke openly about her fight with eating disorders to the Scottish Daily Record, admitted that every day is a battle to control the illness that once nearly killed her. She said: "Older people may have an added burden of feeling they’re somehow to blame for the condition, making it harder for them to seek or accept treatment, even though they were probably always disposed to developing an eating disorder. "We are aware that increasing numbers of mature women are seeking help for their eating disorder. "Successful older women, in their 40s and 50s, are given a higher media profile these days and become aspirational role models - this can affect some people who are particularly vulnerable because they are so driven to be perfect."

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Anorexia Cause May Be A Loose Connection

New research from RUB researchers has found a possible physiological explanation for anorexia. Using an MRI, the researchers found that certain portions of an anorexics brain network have weakened connections. The scientists noted that the weaker the connection, the more likely someone was to misjudge their body.

"These alterations in the brain could explain why women with anorexia perceive themselves as fatter, even though they are objectively underweight" says Prof. Dr. Boris Suchan of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ruhr-Universität. Together with Prof. Dr. Dietrich Grönemeyer (University of Witten-Herdecke), Prof. Dr. Silja Vocks (University of Osnabrück) and other colleagues, the Bochum researchers report in the journal Behavioural Brain Research. In the tests, anorexics were compared with healthy women of a similar age. Each woman was shown a series of silouets and told to choose the one that looked most like them. There was also a third group that was not part of the study which made up the control. These women were also shown the same silhouets but they were told to match them up against the women taking part in the trial. The results showed that anorexic women overestimated their body size while average women underestimated their size. The study participants also did the same basic experiment inside an MRI scanner. The researchers found that when healthy women were judging body size, even using pictures of other women, there was a strong connection between the fusiform body area (FBA) and the extrastriate body area, (EBA). This connection became significantly weaker in the brains of anorexics. "In a previous study we found that there are structural changes in the brains of patients with anorexia", says Boris Suchan. They have a lower density of nerve cells in the EBA. "The new data shows that the network for body processing is also functionally altered." Not only could this new discovery lead to possible tests that could indicated someone’s likelihood of an eating disorder, it could be the basis of a lasting treatment for the disease.

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Eight year olds treated for eating disorders in Doncaster

eating disorders in kidsMyths of eating disorders affecting mostly young women are being radically disproved, with recent figures from Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber (RDaSH) NHS Foundation Trust finding that children as young as eight are being sent for treatment.

According to a recent report, more than 40 youngsters under the age of 16 have been referred to specialists to be treated for anorexia nervosa in the past four years.

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Dieting can nurture an eating disorder gene, says expert

dieting may trigger genetic predispositions to eating disorders.
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Take the first step to recovery by understanding risks of eating disorders

disordered eatingThe risks and reasons behind eating disorders.One of the first steps in recovering from an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, is recognising you have a problem.

This can be difficult to admit to yourself as eating disorders are often about taking control of life through your weight.

Often teamed with feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and the pressure to be thin like your favourite slim celebrity, eating disorders are hard to overcome without help.

Understanding the risks of eating disorders could help you take the first step to recovery, which is asking for aid.

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Vegetarianism Linked to Eating Disorders in Women and Teens

Vegetarianism may be a signs of an eating disorder according to a new study.
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New Research May Hold the Key to Treating Anorexia

anorexia treatment New research has identfied a drug that could help better treat and understand anorexia. A New study may hold the key to the first ever medication designed to treat anorexia. Researchers at the University of Chicago found the anti-psychotic drug olanzapine helps prevent anorexic behavior in mice. While this is only an initial study, the results are promising. In low doses, the drug helped mice maintain their weight despite food restrictions and exercise that would usually promote anorexic behaviors.

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