Thursday, 20 Nov, 2008 Health & Fitness

Hunger and narcotic substances


French scientists have come to the conclusion that the state of continuous hunger, characteristic for persons sick with anorexia, has an influence on the human brain just like narcotic substances. Hunger and ecstasy are actually very much alike in their exciting of brain's appetite control and pleasure centres. What results from it is that you can get real dependence not only from narcotic substances, but also from hunger.

Everybody knows what anorexia is. Some time ago, this problem was discussed only secretly, apart from the others to hear it. Today it's a very popular subject, especially after the death of some famous top-models sick with this disease. In Latin the word "anorexia" means the loss of food motivation, that is the loss of appetite and of the feeling of hunger. It's a serious disease, characterized by inadequate food behaviour - voluntary refusal from food. The disturbances arising from it are related to psychic, endocrine and metabolic systems of the organism and very often it leads to death. The treatment becomes impossible on a certain stage of the disease.

A group of scientists from the French National Centre of Scientific Research was studying energy circulation in the human body when their attention was caught by the fact that anorexia, just like the use of narcotic substances, is directly related to the loss of appetite. Any narcologist knows that alcoholics and people who are dependent to narcotic substances don't need food, even when their organism needs to restore the loss of energetic substances. Patients with anorexia also refuse eating, despite their serious deficit of energy. Scientists have concentrated their minds on studying a special centre of the brain, with 5-HT4 serotonin receptors, responsible for the feeling of pleasure. These receptors react upon any exciting factor, be that tasty food, music, alcohol, narcotic substances or sex. This centre is involved in the forming of dependence from chemical happiness.

The experiments made by the French scientists under the supervision of Valerie Compan consisted of the following. During the experiments it was found that mice, whose pleasure centre was excited by the scientists, were suddenly losing appetite. As a result, their bodies were starting to elaborate amphetamines, the level of which increases in human beings and animals only after the usage of psychostimulents and as a consequence of nervous anorexia. This is how scientists have proved that pleasure receptors are responsible for appetite decreasing together with the usage of ecstasy. They also consider that the results they have received can be used in the creation of a medicine that would cure anorexia.

The causes of nervous anorexia have not been completely established yet, that's why it's impossible to predict who's going to be the next victim of diets. It is only known that this disease mostly affects American and European women. Only 1 out of 20 patients with anorexia is a man. A more curious fact is that black people are less exposed to the risk of having anorexia, maybe because they have a more philosophical attitude towards their weight and aspect. Death results from anorexia happen much more often than in other nervous disturbances, even in such a disturbance as schizophrenia. Nowadays, there is no treatment or early diagnosis for anorexia. Maybe the discovery related here will clear the situation in some degree.

Posted by summer_rain

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