Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

Where Fat Makes Its Final Stand in the Anorexic Body: In the Bone Marrow

DiscoblogBy Smriti RaoFebruary 10, 2010 10:41 PM
anorexic-girl1.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Fat is normally not a word associated with anorexics, but researchers at the Children's Hospital Boston suggest that people who suffer from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa have some fat stashed away in a surprising place. They may not have a thick layer of fleshy insulation like people with regular amounts of fat, but anorexics do store fat in their bone marrow--with detrimental results. The findings will be published in the February issue of Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. In the study, researchers took MRI scans of the knees of 40 girls, half of whom were anorexic and the other half healthy. The average age of these girls was 16. Radiologists who studied the MRIs found that girls with anorexia had very high fat content in their knees and less than half as much healthy red marrow. The researchers say that at an age when young girls should be developing bone mass, the malnutrition induces the bone marrow to stop yielding cells that aid in building bone, and instead redirects the marrow towards forming fat cells. Science Daily reports:

One speculation is that it's the body's attempt to store energy and preserve warmth. Anorexics often develop hypothermia because of a lack of insulating fat, and are often hospitalized with extremely low body temperatures.

Related Content: DISCOVER: Autoimmune Anorexia DISCOVER: Inside the Strange World of Sleep EatersImage: iStockphoto

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In