Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hair analysis found to reveal eating disorders?

A new study from Brigham Young University found that hair samples can help doctors diagnose eating disorders.

The BYU researchers found marked differences in nitrogen and carbon content when hair samples from females at an eating disorder clinic were compared with samples from females who didn't have a problem. The researchers were able to accurately determine the samples from women with eating disorders 80 percent of the time.

One of BYU's lead researchers on the study -- Kent Hatch -- said hair acts like a "tape recorder." Hair can record specific life events like eating patterns, drug use and even exposure to dangerous products like mercury and lead. "This would give a clinician an objective measure to use to diagnose an eating disorder, and we hope it will eventually allow a sound diagnosis at an earlier stage," said Hatch.

Tests are needed to diagnose eating disorders because those who suffer from them tend to be secretive about their problem or may not even know they have an eating disorder, said Jennifer Tolman -- clinical director at Avalon Hills, a treatment facility in Cache County, Utah. "We had a girl who was 5'10" and weighed 98 pounds, and she wasn't even sure she had an eating disorder, although she could recognize it in others."

The recent BYU research was conducted by faculty in integrative biology, communications, statistics and geology -- and grew out of earlier research on the link between eating disorders and exposure to fashion, fitness and beauty magazines.

One of the co-authors of the BYU study -- Steven Thomsen -- said it would be helpful to biologically determine the same results based on the prior research with magazines. "We have talked about going back and re-exploring some of the things we've studied and adding this variable," he said.


Hair analysis found to reveal eating disorders?

wow didnt know that, thanks for sharing. kinda scary thinking about it.

Hair analysis found to reveal eating disorders?

Interesting, but many doctors do not recognize hair analysis as real science. I worked in a steel foundry and was concerned about high levels of manganese. There is no blood test for this, because its not a heavy metal. I had a hair analysis and ALL the metals I worked with were off the charts. The blood tests though, no one could interpret. No one could interpret the hair analysis either. The reason is that all it indicates is exposure. It really is not reflective of the amount in your system. I know this because the hair anaylis said my iron was high and I worked with iron, but a blood test showed I was anemic at the time. Hair analysis is useful to indicate exposure, but not diagnostic to indicate the amount of exposure in my opinion. (If you work in a dusty foundry, your hair is not a clean sample even though the lab washed it twice in my case to confirm)

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