A new study has found that women suffering from bulimia nervosa block an area of the brain that is related to the capacity for self-reflection and the perception of themselves.
Bulimia is an eating and psychological disorder whose habits move away from healthy eating, overeating and then, in a moment of regret, expel what you have eaten by inducing vomiting or consuming laxatives.
To know the repercussions on this behavior, a study with people suffering from this disorder using magnetic resonance imaging.
What happens in the brain
The study was conducted by analyzing the reaction of 10 women without bulimia and 10 with chronic bulimia. They all had a meal, and after an hour, they entered the scanner and were shown pictures of furniture and leaves; then they were shown pictures of food.
The food images were of pizzas, hamburgers, and foods high in fat and sugar. After this, all of them were given a difficult math problem to solve, this with the intention of subjecting them to a stress process.
They were then reintroduced into the scanner and shown the same pictures of food again. After each activity on the scanner, the women rated their stress levels and desire to eat.
It turns out that in the second test, all women experienced higher stress levels, and that these were reduced when they saw the food images.
However, although both groups experienced the same, in the case of lwomen with bulimia, the images showed that brain flow decreases in a region called Precuneus, a region related to the thought of the self.
Bulimia and self-esteem
The precuneus is a region that is related to self-reflection, self-criticism, and meditation. This region serves the function of viewing errors and personal problems.
Now, in the case of bulimics brain function changes as flow to this area decreases. A second study with women suffering from bulimia nervosa verified the results of the first study.
What the researchers believe is that the decreased blood flow to the precuneus in bulimics is due to the fact that food consumption shuts down, so to speak, self-critical thinking.
In this sense, lfood gives them something to focus on not to deal with your problems and your own shortcomings.
Food: an escape route
From psychology, it is believed that compulsive eating is due to the fact that it is a way out of trouble, or at least a distraction to deal with. This study, in some way, tests this hypothesis.
The point is, bulimia can create other problems like diabetes. But studies now show that it is also a neurobiological problem. However, more studies are needed to delve further into this problem and its possible solution.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.