Overactive dopamine receptors may help explain eating disorders symptoms
Just why those with anorexia nervosa are driven to be excessively thin and seem unaware of the seriousness of their condition could be due to over-activity of a chemical system found in a region deep inside the brain, a University of Pittsburgh study suggests. Reporting in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers found an over-activity of dopamine receptors in the brains basal ganglia, an area known to play a role in how people learn from experience and make choices.
Results of the study, led by Walter Kaye, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Guido Frank, M.D., now of the University of California at San Diego, contribute to the understanding of what may cause anorexia. The disorder affects about 1 percent of American women, some of whom die from complications of the disease. The research may point to a molecular target for development of more effective treatments than those currently available.
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