A newly published thesis from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, however, shows that the condition depends in certain cases on a hormonal imbalance that can be corrected with common oral contraceptives.
"We have shown that one third of female bulimics have metabolic disorders that may explain the occurrence of the eating disorder. These disorders may in certain cases express the hormonal constitution of the patient, rather than any mental illness", says Dr Sabine Naessén about the research results that are presented in her doctoral thesis.
Bulimia nervosa, compulsive overeating, is probably the most common form of eating disorder, and it is approximately ten times more common in women than in men. The condition is normally considered to have psychological causes, and it is for this reason normally treated with cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressive drugs.
The results that Dr Naessén has obtained show that bulimia is a complex condition that contains hormonal and genetic components, in addition to psychological components. The bulimics in the studies had higher levels of the male sex hormone testosterone and lower levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen than healthy subjects in the control group had. Testosterone is directly involved in the normal appetite regulation of the body, and an increased level may lead to an increased feeling of hunger.
The testosterone level of patients with bulimia could be reduced by treating these patients with oestrogen-dominated oral contraceptives. The result was that the craving for fat and sugar decreased, as did the feeling of hunger, in approximately half of the bulimics after as short a period of treatment as three months. Three subjects became completely free of the eating disorder as a consequence of the treatment.
"This is a very strong effect. Hormone treatment may very well be an alternative to cognitive behavioural treatment", says Dr Naessén.
Doctoral thesis: "Endocrine and metabolic disorders in bulimic women and effects of antiandrogenic treatment" by S. Naessén, Department of Woman and Child Health.
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21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex
21.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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