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February 1990

Metabolic Abnormalities in Bulimia Nervosa

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Devlin and Walsh and Ms Dantzic) and Medicine (Drs Heymsfield and Pi-Sunyer), Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY; and the Department of Surgery (Dr Kral), State University of New York Health Science Center, Brooklyn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(2):144-148. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810140044007

• Resting metabolic rate was measured in a group of 22 women of normal body weight with bulimia nervosa and in 19 age-, sex-, and weight-matched control subjects. Mean resting metabolic rate of patients was significantly lower than that of controls (5162 ±928 vs 5636 ±449 KJ/24 h [1229 ±221 vs 1342 ±107 Kcal/24 h]), as was mean fasting blood glucose level (4.0 ± 0.6 vs 4.6 ± 0.6 mmol/L). Mean basal thyrotropin level was significantly lower in patients than controls, but other thyroid indexes did not differ. There were no group differences in body fat mass, fat cell size, or lipoprotein lipase activity. These data suggest that there is a disturbance in energy regulation in bulimia nervosa. However, the origins and role of this disturbance in the pathophysiology of bulimia are unclear.