Bulimia is a serious eating condition, and people suffering from the condition should take it seriously. As are health experts, who through a recent research have discovered that women suffering from bulimia nervosa may be using food to avoid stress and negative self-thinking.
For the uninitiated, Bulimia (also referred to as Bulimia Nervosa) is an eating disorder where the person tends to binge and then follow methods to avoid putting on weight. And this more often than not involves throwing up deliberately; however, some affected people do try and exercise and fast as well.
“To our knowledge, the current study is the first investigation of the neural reactions to food cues following a stressful event in women with bulimia nervosa,” says lead author Brittany Collins, Ph.D., of the Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Image: INLIFE Healthcare
What Did The Study Say?
The study involved 20 women (women are most susceptible to bulimia) out of which 10 were bulimic. The women were all given the same food and within an hour of eating, they were examined in an MRI scanner and were shown a set of random images, such as furniture, followed by photographs of high-sugar or fat-laden food, like ice cream and pizza. This was followed by solving an impossible mathematics problem in order to induce stress; after which the subjects were again scanned and shown some more junk food images. The participants were then asked to rate their stress and food craving levels.
Even though all the women rated their stress somewhat similarly, the brain scans varied. The brains of bulimic women showed a lower blood flow to the precuneus (the part of the brain associated with self-reflection) when they were shown images of food, while for the rest, the blood flow to this region of the brain increased.
A similar second study was conducted on 17 women to follow up and substantiate the findings of the first research. The second study showed the same results, noted co-author Sarah Fischer, Ph.D., of George Mason University in Virginia.
While the exact cause of bulimia remains unidentified, experts attribute it to various factors like excessive stress, low self-esteem, or history of abuse, etc. could trigger this eating disorder. Additionally, genetics are also a major factor of bulimia.
Featured Image: YouTube
Source: Blasting News