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Eating Disorders In Youth And Adults

1913 words - 8 pages

In both youth and adults, eating disorders is a major and decisive factor in the developmental phase of a healthy life. Therefore, a popular area of research among the medical field are the factors that contribute to the motivation to eat, have a food preference and engage in food “pleasure”. It was more commonly known that scientists had directed the need and wanting to feed to our internal homeostatic system. This meant that food consumption depended on energy balance and maintenance. However, it was established by ongoing research that the regulation of feeding behaviour and the established homeostasis systems are integrated. It was found that the establishment of the ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’ system was a brain reward. These systems work together to stimulate or inhibit eating behaviour, although having separate neurological mechanisms. There is however, a dissociation between the two systems in which over eating or starvation can occur which is highly detrimental to the human body. Therefore, further research is needed into the mechanisms and pathways between the homeostasis system and the brain reward system to understand the effects of the eating behaviour, such as over eating, under eating and eating disorders which can be prevented and further analysed to create a healthy lifestyle for those suffering these disorders.
There are several severe eating disorders that has arose such as bulimia, obesity and anorexia nervosa. This has caused significant youth mortality and is still currently on the rise. Therefore scientists and psychologists have been provoked to research more in the understanding of the physiological and psychological regulation of feeding and eating behaviour. Homeostasis was the key factor in answering the questions of what, when and how much to eat, but now this simplistic view has been abolished by professionals as it does not account for the complexity of human feeding behaviour. It has been deemed that a brain reward system that regulates the “liking” and “wanting” of food.
A significant need that is prevalent in eating behaviour is the need for energy balance. In order to maintain a stable body weight energy intake and expenditure needs to be equal. Feeding behaviour is tightly regulated by direct hormonal signals between adipocytes and the brain. Adipocytes are energy storing fat cells that release energy when needed (Coleman & Hermann, 1999). It was found that adipocytes release a certain protein called Leptin. Leptin acts directly on the hypothalamic neurons as a signal to create the “full” feeling and therefore causes the organism to stop eating, thus creating satiety (Friedman & Halaas 1998). Adipocytes release Leptin that bind to the Leptin receptors in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus which stimulates the release of Alpha-Mealnocyte-stimulatin-hormone (aMSH) and Cocaine-and-amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART). These are activated by Leptin binding to the neurons in the arcuate...

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