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By Peggy Parks

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Extra resources for Anorexia

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 4 percent of females will have anorexia at some point during their lifetimes. • About 50 percent of anorexics develop bulimia or bulimic patterns. • After asthma and obesity, anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescent females. 30 How Serious Is Anorexia? Anorexia Develops at a Young Age • Anorexia and bulimia affect as many as 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States. 5 to 3 percent of all teenagers.

Although it has been a long time since Marya Hornbacher was caught in the throes of anorexia, she cannot rid herself of the fear that she might someday relapse. She often has bouts of feeling that she is too fat, even though she is underweight for her height. Today, she suffers from lasting effects caused by years of self-starvation—effects that have permanently harmed her body, as she explains: The damage to a lot of my systems is irreparable. I can’t have kids. My heart is three-fourths the size of a normal heart because the muscle mass was eroded.

They found that the two groups’ brains performed differently while they were playing the game. Among the nonsufferers, the part of the brain connected to emotional responses showed strong differences when the women were winning or losing. This was not the case with the group of former anorexics, however. Their MRI scans showed little difference in brain activity whether they won or lost the game, which led the researchers to suspect that the women got no more pleasure from winning than they did from losing.

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