Links for Keyword: Anorexia & Bulimia

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By Constance Holden People with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) hate the way they look. Even though they are as normal in appearance as anyone else, they are obsessed with features such as their skin, their noses, and their hair, which--to them--never look right. Now, the first brain-imaging study of BDD patients shows that the condition is not an emotional problem. Rather, their brains are presenting them with skewed images of themselves. Psychiatrist James Feusner and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked BDD subjects and controls to scrutinize images of faces while their brains were being scanned by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Each face was presented in three versions: One was an unaltered photograph; one included only low-spatial-frequency information, resulting in a blurred image that yielded just a general impression of the face; and the third contained only high-frequency information, which exaggerated the lines of the face (see picture). Previous research has shown that different neural pathways process high- and low-frequency information. When the image is blurry, the normal brain analyzes the face as a whole, whereas with high-frequency data, it zeroes in on details. The scientists found that the control subjects used a more holistic, right-brain strategy for the unaltered face and the low-frequency one. They only moved to the high-detail strategy for the high-detail face. In the BDD group, however, subjects failed to look at the figure as a whole, instead using left-brain channels that dwell on details for all three faces. © 2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 19: Language and Hemispheric Asymmetry
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 15: Language and Our Divided Brain
Link ID: 11036 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By AMY LORENTZEN DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Iowa researcher is studying a little-known eating disorder that some doctors may miss: purging disorder. Though similar to women with bulimia, patients who fit this description don't binge-eat. Yet they feel compelled to purge, usually by vomiting, even after eating only a small or normal amount of food, said Pamela Keel, the University of Iowa researcher who led a study on the subject. Keel, a psychology professor, and colleagues from Iowa and the Harvard Medical School describe their research in this month's issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. "Purging disorder is new in the sense that it has not been officially recognized as a unique condition in the classification of eating disorders. But it's not a new problem," Keel said. "Women were struggling with purging disorder long before we began studying it." If further study supports that it is a distinct disorder, Keel said the American Psychiatric Association could revise its criteria for diagnosing eating disorders. That's important because doctors could then better screen these patients and identify treatments for them. Otherwise, they might be missed because they are normal weight and don't report binge-eating, she said. © 2007 The Associated Press

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 10760 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Deborah Tannen I once showed my mother a photograph taken of me by a professional photographer. Instead of commenting on the glamorous pose and makeup-artist adornment, she said, "One of your eyes is smaller than the other." Then she turned to me and gripped my chin as she examined my face. "It is," she pronounced. "Your left eye is smaller." For a while after, whenever she saw me, she inspected my eye and reiterated her concern. During that time, I too became preoccupied with my left eye. My mother's perspective had become my own. When else does a slight imperfection -- a pimple, a small asymmetry -- become the most prominent feature on your face? When you're looking in a mirror. A mother who zeroes in on her daughter's appearance -- often on the Big Three: hair, clothes and weight -- is regarding her daughter in the same way that she looks at herself in a mirror. The more I thought about it, the more this seemed to account for some of the best and worst aspects of the mother-daughter relationship: Each tends to see the other as a reflection of herself. It's wonderful when this means caring deeply, being interested in details and truly understanding the other. But it can cause frustration when it means scrutinizing the other for flaws in the same way that you scrutinize yourself. The mirror image is particularly apt during the teenage years. At this age, a girl may spend hours in front of a full-length mirror, scouring her reflection for tiny imperfections that fill her with dread. And it is typically also at this age that she is most critical of her mother. (One woman recalls how her teenage daughter summed it up: "Everything about you is wrong.") The teenage girl is critiquing her mother -- and finding her wanting -- just as she scans her own mirror image for imperfections. © 2007 The Washington Post Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 10167 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Group therapy using a technique based on the theory of "cognitive dissonance" may help young women at risk of eating disorders, new research suggests. The study included 93 college women who responded to a call for women who were not satisfied with their bodies. Both interventions lasted about 6 weeks. The researchers found that group therapy, once-weekly for 6 weeks, relieved some of the students' body dissatisfaction, unhealthy eating habits and symptoms of anxiety. The other approach that was used -- yoga -- failed to spur any improvements, according to findings published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. However, the researchers note that 6 weeks was a relatively short period to learn yoga, and previous studies that found a relationship between yoga and a reduction in eating disorder symptoms included women who practiced yoga for about six years. The problem of "disordered eating" is common among college women. Though they fall short of an official eating disorder diagnosis, these women suffer from body dissatisfaction and fear of gaining weight, and often use unhealthy weight control measures like fasting, vomiting and laxative and diuretic abuse. Many go through cycles of binge-eating. © 1996-2007 Scientific American, Inc

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 10031 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Megan Rauscher NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Fathers are important influences on their daughters' perceptions of their weight and shape during childhood, and can increase their risk of developing an eating disorder in adolescence, research shows. "Fathers have been mostly ignored in previous research on eating disorders," Dr. W. Stewart Agras, who led the research, told Reuters Health. Based on his findings, Agras said fathers "should avoid criticizing their daughter's weight or shape. Rather they should build up their daughter's confidence by emphasizing other positive attributes." Weight concerns and preoccupation with being thin, together with social pressure to be thin, are strong risk factors for eating disorders in later adolescence. In an effort to throw light on what factors during childhood contribute to weight concerns and thin body preoccupation, Agras and colleagues from Stanford University in California followed 134 children (68 girls and 66 boys) from birth to age 11 and their parents. Annual questionnaires beginning at age 2 assessed parents' concerns about their children's weight and eating habits as well as their own weight. The results show, Agras said, that "fathers are important in influencing their daughters toward bulimia, particularly fathers who were overweight and wanted to be thinner." These influences may be direct -- such as criticizing the daughter's weight or shape -- or indirect, by expressing their own concerns about weight and shape. © 1996-2007 Scientific American, Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 9943 - Posted: 06.24.2010

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Anorexia nervosa runs a longer course in girls than in boys, research shows. One year after undergoing treatment for anorexia, Dr. Michael Strober of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and colleagues found that girls showed a higher level of continued preoccupation with weight and eating than did boys. And while none of the boys in the current study had relapsed into full-blown anorexia at one year after treatment, 8.2 percent of girls had. The study is the first to look at gender differences in anorexia patients, the study team points out in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Given that the disease is much more common among females, they note, some researchers have suggested that there may be gender differences in why it develops. To investigate, Strober and colleagues looked at 99 anorexia patients aged 13 to 17, 14 of whom were boys. Both boys and girls had similarly severe symptoms when they entered treatment, the researchers found, and were also equally likely to suffer from anxiety disorders and traits known to be associated with anorexia such as rigidity and perfectionism. However, girls showed greater concern with weight. One year later, the researchers found, the girls reported more concern with weight, shape and eating than the boys, and were more likely to have fallen below their recommended maintenance weight. © 1996-2006 Scientific American, Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 12: Sex: Evolutionary, Hormonal, and Neural Bases
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 9569 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Sandra G. Boodman The programs have catchy names like "Food, Mood and Attitude" and "Full of Ourselves" as well as an ambitious goal: to prevent adolescent eating disorders, which tend to be chronic, difficult to treat and sometimes fatal. But do they work? In the case of one such program -- "Student Bodies," developed by researchers at Stanford University -- a recently published study suggests that the answer is yes. Stanford researchers, who followed 480 female California college students for up to two years, report that the eight-week Internet-based program reduced the development of eating disorders in women at high risk. "This study shows that innovative intervention can work," said Thomas Insel, director of the National Insitute of Mental Health, which funded the study; its findings appeared in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Prevention programs for eating disorders have proliferated in the past decade, in part because of the high cost and low success rate of treatment programs. The disorders include a constellation of problems, including anorexia, a pathological fear of gaining weight marked by self-starvation. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness: About 10 percent of patients hospitalized for treatment ultimately die of the disorder. © 2006 The Washington Post Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 9551 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Katherine A. Halmi, M.D. Anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are the two major eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by weight loss, an intense fear of gaining weight, a distorted body image and amenorrhea. Bulimia nervosa is a disorder in which binge eating is the predominant behavior. People with BN engage in some sort of compensatory behavior to counteract the potential weight gain from calories ingested during bingeing. They are frequently overconcerned about their physical appearance. Why are these disorders difficult to diagnose? Patients with AN do not wish to be diagnosed because they do not wish to be treated. They deny the core symptomatology of their disorder and will often try to mislead their primary care provider into believing there are other medical issues causing their weight loss. Thus, it is very helpful to obtain further information from family members about the patient's behavior, if possible. Furthermore, there are problems with the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for AN and BN (see Table 1 for an abbreviated version). The DSM-IV criteria are undergoing scrutiny because many patients suffering from eating disorders do not quite fit. For AN, the criterion of weight loss would seem to be noncontroversial. However, there is no consensus as to how weight loss should be calculated. Some investigators emphasize a total weight loss from an original high weight, and others emphasize weight loss below a normal weight for age and height. © 2005 Psychiatric Times. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 7524 - Posted: 06.24.2010

by Arline Kaplan, Psychiatric Times August 2004 Vol. XXI Issue 9 Although eating disorders have been considered to be largely sociocultural in origin, findings from family, twin and molecular genetic studies conducted during the last decade are refuting that perspective, an expert in genetic epidemiology told attendees at the recent 2nd World Congress on Women's Mental Health in Washington, D.C. (Bulik et al., 2004). "Twenty years ago when I started in this field, and gave my favorite lecture on eating disorders, it was all about the role of the family and social factors in the etiology of eating disorders," said Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., William R. and Jeanne H. Jordan Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the department of psychiatry and director of the eating disorders program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "Both anorexia and bulimia were very much viewed as disorders of choice. These young girls were viewed as trying to emulate some cultural ideal and diet themselves down to a certain weight. Now, any patient would have told you had you listened that wasn't what they were doing. They went far beyond any societal ideal in Cosmopolitan or any other magazine." Bulik explained that when she and colleagues started talking about genes as being involved in these disorders, "people pretty much thought we were out of our minds." However, the investigators are discovering a complex interplay between genes and the environment leading to the development of anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). © 2004 Psychiatric Times

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 6088 - Posted: 06.24.2010

by Timothy D. Brewerton, M.D. , Psychiatric Times Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge-eating disorder (BED), remain one of the most complex and clinically challenging groups of mental disorders in our nomenclature. There are no easy solutions, and the bottom line of this article is that pharmacological agents are not the primary treatment of choice. Although a number of agents have been found in randomized controlled trials to be beneficial, they are by and large insufficient as stand-alone treatments. Space does not allow a comprehensive overview of this topic, but the reader is referred to a recent review by Steinglass and Walsh (2004). In addition, the revised American Psychiatric Association practice guidelines for the treatment of eating disorders (APA, 2000) and the recently released National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) Guidelines (2004) are useful resources regarding the use of drug therapy within the context of a comprehensive treatment approach. No pharmacological agents have ever been shown in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to significantly improve AN when given outside a structured, inpatient program. Food remains the "drug of choice" for this population, for reasons that will be elaborated below. Of course, administering food in the interest of weight restoration is much easier said than done, given the profound denial and resistance typical of this disorder. There are a handful of drugs found to be statistically better than placebo in randomized controlled trials, but there is little clinical significance of these findings. Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) was shown in one controlled trial to be statistically better than placebo in a small group of patients being treated at the National Institute of Mental Health on an intensive, highly structured, specialized treatment unit (Gross et al., 1981). However, the effect was small, and eating disorder specialists generally deem the potential risks of lithium treatment in this population to be far greater than the possible benefits, largely due to the danger of lithium toxicity secondary to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from starvation, compulsive exercising and/or purging. Another study found amitriptyline (Elavil) statistically better than placebo for patients who are both bulimic and anorexic, while cyproheptadine (Periactin) was better for restricting anorexia (Halmi et al., 1986). However, other studies have had mixed results. © 2004 Psychiatric Times. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 5569 - Posted: 06.24.2010

by D. Blake Woodside, M.D. Psychiatric Times The occurrence of eating disorders in men remains relatively rare but consistent. This is true despite recent research suggesting that male cases are far more numerous than had been previously thought. This brief article will comment on recent research findings in this area and describe their relevance to assessment and treatment. Two studies support the notion that eating disorders are more common than had previously been thought (Health Canada, 2003; Woodside et al., 2001). Woodside et al. (2001) reported on the results of a 10,000-person community epidemiologic study. Combining full- and partial-syndrome eating disorder cases for both men and women, the investigators showed an overall rate of three female cases for every one male case-a far cry from the typical 10:1 or 20:1 ratio found in most treatment settings. However, this study assessed only limited Axis II parameters and, as DSM-III-R diagnoses were generated from the data, the prevalence of binge-eating disorder could not be assessed. More recently, Health Canada (2003) released preliminary results from a national, face-to-face mental health survey of over 30,000 people performed in 2001 and 2002. This survey assessed for full-syndrome eating disorders and reported a ratio of male to female cases of approximately 1:5. This was somewhat higher than the findings from Woodside et al. (2001) but showed many more cases than might otherwise have been thought. The somewhat higher ratio in the Health Canada survey is almost certainly related to only full-syndrome cases that the Woodside et al. survey was too small to allow for. © 2004 Psychiatric Times. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 5207 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Blame biology, not parenting, new theory suggests By Ellen Ruppel Shell, Globe Correspondent, Anorexia, she contends, is not primarily a psychological condition brought on by a troubled childhood -- as is often thought -- but a disorder based in biology, specifically in the appetite regulation mechanism in the brain. Her theory postulates that anorexics have a biological adaptation to weight loss that causes their bodies to shut off hunger signals, and to ratchet up physical activity, even as their flesh melts away. "Anorexics are often told to stop dieting, to listen to their body and to give it what it wants," Guisinger said. "But the reality is that they are listening to their bodies, and their bodies are telling them not to eat. The truth is, they have to stop listening." Guisinger, who has treated eating disorders in private practice in Missoula, Mont., for nearly two decades, trained in evolutionary biology in the late 1970's before getting a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. This background, coupled with her upbringing on a farm in Washington state, convinced her that Freudian and other purely psychological explanations for anorexia were inadequate. © Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 4762 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Although thought of as a psychological problem, the eating disorder anorexia nervosa often runs in families, suggesting that it has a genetic component. Now researchers have found two genes that help determine the risk of acquiring the disease. The results suggest that variations in genes involved in mood and appetite can put women at risk for anorexia. People with anorexia, usually women, have a distorted body image, starve themselves, and tend to be perfectionists. Studies over the last decade have suggested that genes play a role. The risk of becoming anorexic is about half a percent in the general population, but in 2000, researchers found that the risk jumped 11-fold in people with anorexic family members. Family dynamics don't appear to explain the link: Psychiatrist Walter Kaye at the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues found a variation of a region on chromosome 1 that was common in people with the disease. Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 3811 - Posted: 06.24.2010

NewScientist.com news service Anorexic women have much higher levels of a mysterious molecule suspected to affect appetite, researchers have shown for the first time. The peptide, called CART, could be a candidate for new appetite-altering drugs, they say. Levels of CART were 50 per cent higher in blood samples from anorexic women, compared with women without the eating disorder, says Sarah Stanley, an endocrinologist at Imperial College London. CART levels were also found to rise as the women's weight fell. However, the function of CART in humans is not known. "And because we know so little, it is difficult to know if CART is the cause of the weight loss or the result," Stanley told New Scientist. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 3624 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Victims Learn Dangerous Behavior SAN DIEGO -- Anorexia Nervosa is considered one of the deadliest mental illnesses around. But instead of helping victims learn to overcome the eating disorder, dozens of Web sites actually promote, teach and support the disease. "There's a camaraderie there that people are seeking, in a very sad and tragic way," Dr. Trish Stanley said. Neely Weir started suffering from the disease in 8th grade. Now recovered, Weir helps other teens and finds pro-anorexia sites disturbing. © 2002, Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. and The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 1525 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By DANA WALTERS In high school, I was a skeleton of who I am now. With pangs of hunger and a jutting rib cage, I was waiting for confidence and determination to flesh me out, fill me and protect me. The story of eating disorders, of young girls starving themselves for the sake of perfection, is a common one, written on the bathroom walls amid the graffiti of rumors and insults. Despite its ubiquity in high school, I believed my hunger was mine alone. Only later did I discover just how truly commonplace my story was. My eating disorder did not make me special. Only curing myself would. I grew up in Swarthmore, Pa., a town not unlike Middlebury, Vt., where I now attend school, but I still thought the substitution of the Green Mountains for the Philadelphia skyline would be just enough to drastically shift my unbalanced psyche. But the deeply instilled sense of overwork and suicidal efficiency still flourished. In Swarthmore, it dotted the driveways of professors, lawyers and doctors, gave nourishment to the soil along the streets named after the most competitive universities in the nation, and resonated in the enthusiasm with which parents flipped through the college announcement edition of the town paper. My new environment, it turned out, was much the same. When I arrived at Middlebury, the beautiful New England buildings screamed of the same hunger for achievement. The competition for perfection was not over. Students glowed with the masochism that drove us to fast ourselves into oblivion. Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 13102 - Posted: 07.27.2009

More people with eating disorders could benefit from "talking therapies" which aim to release them from obsessive feelings, say UK researchers. They said a specially-created form of cognitive behavioural therapy might work in four out of five cases. A 154-person American Journal of Psychiatry study, by the University of Oxford, found most achieved "complete and lasting" improvement. At present, the treatment is officially recommended only for bulimia patients. Some statistics suggest that more than a million people in the UK are affected by some kind of eating disorder, the best known types being anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Approximately 40% of those with eating disorders have bulimia, 20% have anorexia, and the remainder have "atypical disorders", which can combine both bulimic and anorexic-type symptoms. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence has backed cognitive behavioural therapy for bulimia, but Professor Christopher Fairburn, the Wellcome Trust funded researcher who led the project, believes his version could help many more people. His study focused on bulimia and "atypical" patients, but excluded those with anorexia. The technique works using a series of counselling sessions which help the person involved to realise the links between their emotions and behaviour, and work out ways to change what they are doing. Professor Fairburn developed two versions specifically for people with eating disorders, one which focused completely on the eating problems, and another, which took a wider view of not only the eating disorder, but also problems with self-esteem which might be contributing to it. Both treatments involved 50-minute outpatient sessions repeated once a week for 20 weeks. (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 12341 - Posted: 12.15.2008

The French National Assembly has passed a groundbreaking bill which seeks to criminalise the promotion in the media of extreme thinness. The bill targets pro-anorexia websites and publications that encourage girls and young women to starve themselves. It will affect websites, fashion houses, magazines and advertisers. If approved by France's upper house, those found to have encouraged severe weight loss could be fined up to 45,000 euros and face three years in prison. French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said the proposed law would help stop advice on how to become ultra-thin being spread through pro-anorexia sites on the internet. "Encouraging young girls to lie to their doctors, advising them on foods that are easier to regurgitate and inciting them to beat themselves up each time they eat is not freedom of expression," Ms Bachelot told the assembly. "These messages are death messages. Our country must be able to prosecute those who are hiding behind these websites," she said. Jacques Domergue, a lawmaker supporting the bill, said that the intention was to send a strong message to society. (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 11531 - Posted: 04.16.2008

Campaigners are calling for social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, to clamp down on pro-anorexia sites. Doctors at one of the country's largest eating disorders treatment centres said they needed to act more responsibly. The eating disorders charity, B-eat, said little progress had been made on combating "pro-ana" sites. The networking sites said it was hard to distinguish between support groups and "pro-anorexia" groups. But a spokesperson for MySpace said they were working with organisations such as B-eat. Over 1.1 million Britons are known to suffer from an eating disorder. The vast majority are women, although experts believe the numbers could actually be much higher as many cases go undiagnosed. Specialists and charities say the rise of the internet and new media has played a significant part in providing easier access to information on how to get thin. Research has shown that young women exposed to pro-ana websites felt more negative, had lower self-esteem, perceived themselves as heavier and were more likely to compare their bodies with other women. Dr Ty Glover, consultant psychiatrist on the Eating Disorders Unit at Cheadle Royal Hospital, said it had proven difficult to shut down pro-ana websites, but the situation was slightly different for sites such as Facebook. "Social networking sites can censor their material and we expect them to act responsibly," he said. Rather than censor these groups, we are working to create partnership (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 11331 - Posted: 02.25.2008

Babies who go on to develop anorexia may be programmed in the womb by their mother's hormones, evidence suggests. Women are usually much more likely than men to have the eating disorder, but a University of Sussex study found men with a female twin were more at risk. This suggests the hormones released to aid female development may be key. Commenting on the Archives of General Psychiatry study, a UK expert said other factors in childhood and adolescence remained important. It is estimated that up to 90,000 people will be receiving treatment for eating disorders in the UK at any one time, with many other cases going undiagnosed. No-one is sure why women are more prone than men. Some experts suggest that the pressures of modern society are partly to blame while others look at brain changes much earlier in life. Research into twins is a way to examine the factors involved, as the single most important period for brain development is during the months of pregnancy. Dr Marco Procopio, from the University of Sussex, worked with Dr Paul Marriott from the University of Waterloo in Canada to look at information drawn from thousands of Swedish twins born between 1935 and 1958. Overall, as expected, female twins were more likely to develop anorexia than male twins. The only exception was among mixed-sex twins, where the male was as likely to develop anorexia as the female. The researchers wrote that the most likely reason was because of sex steroid hormones released into the womb during pregnancy. (C)BBC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 11038 - Posted: 12.04.2007