SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Korea Bizwire) – It turns out that love might be able to cure those who were filling their empty ‘void’ with food. The ‘love hormone’ oxytocin has showed possible effectiveness in curing patients with bulimia, according to current research conducted by a Korean and English joint research team.
Oxytocin is a hormone secreted in the bodies of mammals, and is known to enhance the communion among people, love between spouses and maternal instincts.
Professor Kim Yully of Inje University’s Seoul Paik Hospital and Professor Janet Treasure of King’s College London published the results in a recent issue of ‘PLoS ONE’, an American Journal for public libraries.
The team checked the food intake of 35 anorexic women, 34 women with bulimia, and 33 healthy women after giving them medication containing oxytocin. Their food intake was checked again after taking the placebo medicine with for a one week term. The average age of the participants was 22.
The results showed that women with bulimic conditions absorbed 2,757 calories per day when taking the placebo medicine, but their calorie intake decreased to 2,277 calories per day after the administration of oxytocin, which is a decrease of 480 calories.
Although the change was smaller than women with bulimia, similar results appeared among healthy women, as their calorie intake dropped from 2,295 calories to 2,179 calories. The tendency was not found among anorexic women.
The biggest characteristic of bulimia is intermittent overeating. In cases of neurogenic bulimia, the afflicted individual tries to avoid gaining weight by throwing up or exercising excessively.
Professor Kim states that as bulimia continues, the compensation circuit of the brain as well as the stress system breaks down, making patients more and more difficult to cure. Although treatment at early stages is essential, the reaction rate of the current psychotherapy is below 50 percent, and anti depressants are only effective by 19 percent, showing an even lower rate.
Professor Kim continues explaining that oxytocin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in the neural circuit that controls trust, sociality, anxiety and stress. Through the study of animals, oxytocin has also proven to affect the neural circuit of the part of the brain related to appetite.
The research and the results are meaningful in providing clues that could help to develop medication for mental disorders, including medicine for bulimia that doesn’t have side effects.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)