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Bulimia's hormonal link.

A brain hormone associated with learning and stress may contribute to the development of bulimia nervosa, a disorder marked by bouts of binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting or laxative use. Previous research implicated the same hormone, vasopressin, in another eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, as wll as obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to psychiatrist Mark A. Demitrack of the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor and his colleagues.

In the June JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY AND METABOLISM, Demitrack's team reports that average vasopressin levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of 24 women with bulimia nervosa exceeded those in 11 healty women. Animal studies suggest vasopressin prolongs memory for learned associations. In women with bulimia nervosa, vasopressin may enhance a conditioned binge-purge cycle, the researchers theorize. The avoidance of weight gain through this tactic then reinforces a preoccupation with body image, they add.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Apr 11, 1992
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