Psychology & Psychiatry

Elite female athletes at greater risk of eating disorders

An extremely slender and toned body, strict diet, low body fat and a BMI of 18.5, but still worried about her body shape. Are these the traits of a person with an eating disorder? A top athlete? Or both?

Medical research

Harmful placebos

How could a sugar pill placebo cause harm? A new review of data from 250,726 trial participants has found that 1 in 20 people who took placebos in trials dropped out because of serious adverse events (side effects). Almost ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Prevalence of eating disorders 1.4 percent in preteens

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of eating disorders among 9- to 10-year-olds in the United States is 1.4 percent, with no difference in prevalence between boys and girls, according to a research letter published online Nov. ...

Genetics

Newly mapped genes may hold keys to ADHD

Millions of American kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have a genetic vulnerability to the disease, a new study suggests.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Hong Kong finds humans contracted hepatitis carried in rats

Researchers said Wednesday they have found a second patient in Hong Kong who contracted a strain of hepatitis carried by rats, in what appears to be the first known human cases in the world.

Medications

Zebrafish larvae help in search for appetite suppressants

Researchers at the University of Zurich and Harvard University have developed a new strategy in the search for psychoactive drugs. By analyzing the behavior of larval zebrafish, they can filter out substances with unwanted ...

Health

A new therapeutic avenue for treating insomnia

Insomnia is one of the major sleep problems with an estimated prevalence of 10 percent to 15 percent in the general population and 30 percent to 60 percent in the older population. Moreover, insomnia frequently co-occurs ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

New genetic clue to anorexia

The largest DNA-sequencing study of anorexia nervosa has linked the eating disorder to variants in a gene coding for an enzyme that regulates cholesterol metabolism. The finding suggests that anorexia could be caused in part ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Pro-anorexia websites provide comfort for a stigmatized condition

Like most other mental illnesses, anorexia nervosa has helpful social networks of supportive communities online – where individuals on the verge of relapsing or facing temptations can find positive feedback and encouragement ...

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Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an obsessive fear of gaining weight. The terms anorexia nervosa and anorexia are often used interchangeably, however anorexia is simply a medical term for lack of appetite. Anorexia nervosa has many complicated implications and may be thought of as a lifelong illness that may never be truly cured, but only managed over time.

Anorexia nervosa is often coupled with a distorted self image which may be maintained by various cognitive biases that alter how the affected individual evaluates and thinks about her or his body, food and eating. Persons with anorexia nervosa continue to feel hunger, but deny themselves all but very small quantities of food. The average caloric intake of a person with anorexia nervosa is 600–800 calories per day, but extreme cases of complete self-starvation are known. It is a serious mental illness with a high incidence of comorbidity and the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.

Anorexia most often has its onset in adolescence and is most prevalent among adolescent girls. However, more recent studies show that the onset age of anorexia decreased from an average of 13 to 17 years of age to 9 to 12. While it can affect men and women of any age, race, and socioeconomic and cultural background, Anorexia nervosa occurs in females 10 times more than in males. While anorexia nervosa is quite commonly (in lay circles) believed to be a woman 's illness, it should not be forgotten than ten per cent of people with anorexia nervosa are male.

The term anorexia nervosa was established in 1873 by Sir William Gull, one of Queen Victoria's personal physicians. The term is of Greek origin: an- (ἀν-, prefix denoting negation) and orexis (ὄρεξις, "appetite"), thus meaning a lack of desire to eat. However, while the term "anorexia nervosa" literally means "neurotic loss of appetite" the literal meaning of the term is somewhat misleading. Many anorexics do enjoy eating and have certainly not lost their appetite as the term "loss of appetite" is normally understood; it is better to regard anorexia nervosa as a self-punitive addiction to fasting, rather than a literal loss of appetite.

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