Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sense Of Taste Different In Women With Anorexia Nervosa

Date:
September 28, 2007
Source:
University of California, San Diego
Summary:
Although anorexia nervosa is categorized as an eating disorder, it is not known whether there are alterations of the portions of the brain that regulates appetite. Now, a new study finds that women with anorexia have distinct differences in the insulta -- the specific part of the brain that is important for recognizing taste.

Although anorexia nervosa is categorized as an eating disorder, it is not known whether there are alterations of the portions of the brain that regulates appetite.

Now, a new study finds that women with anorexia have distinct differences in the insulta -- the specific part of the brain that is important for recognizing taste -- according to a new study by University of Pittsburgh and University of California, San Diego researchers currently on line in advance of publication in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

The study also implies that there may be differences in the processing of information related to self-awareness in recovering anorexics compared to those without the illness -- findings that may lead to a better understanding of the cause of this serious and sometimes fatal mental disorder.

In the study led by Angela Wagner, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Walter H. Kaye, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Schools of Medicine, the brain activity of 32 women was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI.) The research team looked at images of the brains of 16 women who had recovered from anorexia nervosa -- some of whom had been treated at the Center for Overcoming Problem Eating at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center --and 16 control subjects. They measured their brains' reactions to pleasant taste (sucrose) and neutral taste (distilled water.) The results of the fMRI study are the first evidence that individuals with anorexia process taste in a different way than those without the eating disorder.

In response to both the sucrose and water, imaging results showed that women who had recovered from anorexia had significantly reduced response in the insula and related brain regions when compared to the control group. These areas of the brain recognize taste and judge how rewarding that taste is to the person. In addition, while the controls showed a strong relationship between how they judged the pleasantness of the taste and the activity of the insula, this relationship was not seen in those who had recovered from anorexia.

According to Kaye, it is possible that individuals with anorexia have difficulty recognizing taste, or responding to the pleasure associated with food. Because this region of the brain also contributes to emotional regulation, it may be that food is aversive, rather than rewarding. This could shed light on why individuals with anorexia avoid normally "pleasurable" foods, fail to appropriately respond to hunger and are able to lose so much weight.

"We know that the insula and the connected regions are thought to play an important role in interoceptive information, which determines how the individual senses the physiological condition of the entire body," said Kaye. "Interoception has long been thought to be critical for self-awareness because it provides the link between thinking and mood, and the current body state."

This lack of interoceptive awareness may contribute to other symptoms of anorexia nervosa such as distorted body image, lack of recognition of the symptoms of malnutrition and diminished motivation to change, according to Kaye.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious and potentially lethal illness, which may result in death in ten percent of cases. It is characterized by the relentless pursuit of thinness, emaciation and the obsessive fear of gaining weight. Anorexia commonly begins during adolescence, but strikes throughout the lifespan, and is nine times more common in females than in males. These characteristics support the possibility that biological processes contribute to developing this disorder.

Many individual with anorexia nervosa have difficulty obtaining treatment because it is not considered a biological illness.

The research was funded through grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Price Foundation.

Co-authors of the study include Howard Aizenstein, Laura Mazurkewicz and Lorie Fischer of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Julie Fudge of the University of Rochester Medical Center; Guido K. Frank of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of California, San Diego; Karen Putnam of the University of Cincinnati; and Ursula F. Bailer of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Medical University of Vienna.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, San Diego. "Sense Of Taste Different In Women With Anorexia Nervosa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925132324.htm>.
University of California, San Diego. (2007, September 28). Sense Of Taste Different In Women With Anorexia Nervosa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925132324.htm
University of California, San Diego. "Sense Of Taste Different In Women With Anorexia Nervosa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925132324.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The village of Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria was where HIV-AIDS was first discovered in Uganda. Its transient population of fishermen and sex workers means the nationwide programme to combat the virus has had little impact. Duration: 02:30 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins