Sundered from Mother Earth
Oxytocin and Alcoholism

To Eat or Not to Eat

That is the question. For most of us, it's an easy answer. Those of us lucky enough to have food will eat it.

Anorexics are different. Exactly how they are different is a perplexing question that Serguei Fetissov of the Karolinska Institute hopes  to answer.

In the Cavalier Daily, Michael McDuffie writes,

Although this is often taken as dehumanizing, it is a natural human tendency to believe that there is some sense of self-efficacy to be obtained in overcoming our own biology. This is of course a foolhardy idea in that one cannot overcome what one is at a physical level in any phenomenological sense.

Fetissov's study reported on elevated levels of antibodies that block oxytocin and vasopressin found in anorexic women, and it speculated that these were the result of a pathogen mimicking the bodies own antibodies.

McDuffie is more interested in this part of the theory than in the idea that an inability to use oxytocin and vasopressin contribute to anorexia. And, he pooh poohs it:

Besides a small sequence similarity that one likely can find occurring naturally by chance, there is not a shred of evidence presented to support the influence of infection in eating disorders. It is much more plausible that the production of these autoantibodies is in response to stress, but this is not mentioned.

The Cavalier Daily  is the newspaper of the University of Virginia.