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PET Scan find the Area of Brain Responsible for Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a condition that usually affects young women and the condition// can sometimes be fatal. Now researcher think it is due to overactive dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia region of the brain.

People with anorexia nervosa are driven to be excessively thin and are unaware of the seriousness of their condition.When you talk of Anorexia Nervosa, many will remember the death of the famous talented singer Karen Carpenter who died in the prime of her youth due to the condition. There are other famous personalities who also have suffered from the condition including Princess Diana. It is estimated that there maybe about 1% of women who suffer from the condition at some stage in their life.

From the University of Pittsburgh a study has been reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry and it has found that the over-activity of dopamine receptors in the brain's basal ganglia. This area is known to play a role in how people learn from experience and make choices. The area maybe the culprit responsible for the condition.

The research may point to a molecular target for development of more effective treatments strategies than those currently available. The study used ‘Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging’ to assess the activity of brain dopamine receptors, a neurotransmitter system that is best known for its role in controlling movement.

The Dopamine receptors in the brain are usually associated with weight and feeding behaviors and responses to reinforcement and reward. Researchers used a harmless molecule designed to bind to the dopamine D2 and D3 receptors that lie on the membrane surface of neurons. Ten women who had recovered from anorexia nervosa for more than a year were studied, as were 12 normal female subjects. Because malnourishment affects brain chemistry, the researchers did not include acutely ill women in their study.

Since other studies have found reduced binding of these
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