PSYA3 Biological Explanations of AN

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  • Biological Explanations of Anorixia
    • A01
      • Neural Explanations
        • AN can be explained through serotonin. Disturbances in levels of serotonin seem to be a characteristic of an individual with an eating disorder.
          • Bailer compared serotonin activity in women recovering from restricting-type AN and binge eating. He found significantly higher serotonin levels from women recovering from binge-eating type.
            • Also, he found highest levels were in women who showed most anxeity suggesting that constant disrupton of serotonin levels may lead to increased anxiety thus, leads to AN.
        • Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that can be used as Kaye used a PET scan to compare dopamine activity in the brains of 10 women recovering from AN, and 12 healthy women
          • In the women with AN, they found over-activity in dopamine receptors in a part of the brain called the basal gangila which is where dopamine plays a part in the interpretation of harm/pleasure
            • Increased dopamine activity in these areas appears to alter the way people interpret rewards.
      • Neuro deveopment
        • Lindberg + Hjern found a significant association between premature birth and development of AN.
          • Birth complications may lead to brain damage caused by lack of oxygen, impairing the neuro-development of a child.
            • Bulik suggested that mother's with AN expose their offspring to a 'double disadvantage' because of a genetic vulnerability to AN.
        • Season of birth may also explain AN. Research suggests that individuals with AN are more likely to have been born during the spring months
    • A02
      • Serotonin
        • A problem with this explanation is that SSRIs alter levels of available serotonin but ineffective when used on patients with AN.
          • This suggests it may not be an effective way to treat AN. However, Kaye found that when used on recovering AN patients, they're effective with preventing a relapse.
      • Dopamine
        • Castro-froniels conducted research on dopamine. He found that adolescent girls with AN had higher levels of homovanillic  acid than a control group. But, an improvement in weight was associated with normalisation homovanillic levels of dopamine receptors in the brains of obese individuals.
      • Birth complications
        • Faviro found that parental complicatins were significantly associated with risk of developing AN. This supports the resarch on birth complications


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