www.whyville.net Nov 13, 2006 Weekly Issue

Whyville Columnist

Discovering Science

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There have been many articles describing anorexia or telling personal experiences with this terrible disorder, but not one describes the science behind the disease. "No," you may say, "anorexia is just not eating. There's no science!" But, there is!

Yes, anorexia is caused by believing you are too fat when in reality you might be too thin or just right, but to find out all of this you can look back at the past articles. This is about science!

Once someone has anorexia and weight has been lost, many biological features are hurt. Because of not having body fat, they become cold all of the time. It can be eighty degrees fahrenheit outside and the person could be shivering. Because of this, hair starts to grow all over the body to try and stay warm. Normal hair might begin to fall out, but that depends on the hair loss on your mother's side of the family. If men become bald early or lose a lot of hair on your mother's side, more hair will fall out for an anorexic person. It can give a more aged look.

Vital organs become damaged. Every organ has a little fat around them to keep them cushioned and such, but when the body fat around the body wall has been depleted, what fat is left? There's no more fat for the organs to function properly, so they become injured.

What happens when all of the fat around the body wall and organs is gone? What else is there to lose? Something has to be burned for energy, so the body starts to lose its muscles. It results in become fatigued easily and not even being able to pick up a chair. Exercising won't even build muscle. It causes the need for more to be burned and actually makes even more muscle to be lost!

Not eating enough means that not enough proteins and vitamins are getting into your body. Say you aren't getting enough iron. Anemia can be caused from that! Calcium keeps your bones strong. Calcium is definitely needed if all the cushioning around the bones is gone! Supplements alone cannot control these missing items.

Some of the science behind anorexia has been revealed. Yes, we knew that it caused organ damage and hair to grow, but now we know why! Remember to help anyone in this situation because ultimately it will cause death. Don't forget to put your opinions in the BBS!

Your Scientist,


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