Anorexia nervosa is a major problem in today’s society and is ranked with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disease. I am very passionate about self-health and helping others know their worth in this crazy world. Most people battling anorexia see themselves as being overweight, even when they are underweight, and they obsess about eating, food, and weight control.
This study, led by Lori Zeltser, PhD, from Columbia University Medical Center, pointed out that although many previous animal models of anorexia have included some variables that are valuable, but there were not any that could incorporate the social stress and genetic components of anxiety and anorexia that likely contribute to anorexia in humans. Anxiety and anorexia play hand in hand in most cases that humans struggle with. Zeltser and her team exposed adolescent mice to no less than one copy of the BDNF gene variant, which has been linked to anorexia and anxiety in mice and humans. The researchers, also, put the mice on a calorie-restricted diet, and some were exposed to social isolation stress as well. I think it is so interesting that with both factors, there was such a drastic change in behavior, but with only one factor applied or the other, there was very little change. It fascinates me how actions that are displayed in humans such as anorexia, responses to peer pressure, and even a desire to be thin can be easily replicated in mice. It is shocking how such a complex species, such as humans, can be studied by testing not as complex species, such as mice.