Did you experience severe headaches or migraines years before developing bulimia? While they seem like two independent medical issues, new research describes the neurological similarities between migraines and eating disorders. A study released online last week describes how parts of the brain that are implicated in migraines may also be contributing to eating disorders.
The study, to be published in the journal Neurological Sciences, was conducted by Italian researchers. They examined 109 women with eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) and 27 women without eating disorders asking about their experience of headaches and taking blood samples.
Compared to the general population, women with eating disorders reported a very high rate of migraines. While 12-15% of the general population suffers from migraines, 74.5% of the women with eating disorders in this study said they suffered from migraines. The majority of these women described their migraines as having started before they developed eating disorder symptoms.
Furthermore, biochemical tests confirmed that women with eating disorders showed unusual neurotransmitter patterns that are related to specific brain regions (limbic, hypothalamus, amygdala). This is the same biochemical profile found in people suffering from migraines.
Based on the biochemical results, the researchers suggest that people who suffer from migraines might be at risk for developing an eating disorder in the future.
Photo credit: Reno chiropractic