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appetite, and digestion may be imbalanced. The exact meaning and implications of these imbalances are unclear. While eating disorders are complex conditions that can be triggered by a variety of potential causes, they can create a self-perpetuating cycle of physical and emotional destruction that can be hard to stop. All eating disorders require professional help.

Daughters born to mothers with past or present eating disorders may be at high risk of developing an eating disorder themselves. Studies have found that mothers with eating disorders interact differently with their daughters than other mothers when it comes to feeding and weight issues. This suggests that the risk factors for the later development of an eating disorder may begin very early in life.

In one recent California study, baby daughters of women with eating disorders sucked significantly faster, whether breast- or bottle-fed, and were weaned from the bottle an average of more than nine months later than offspring of women without eating disorders. When their children were age two or older, mothers with eating disorders fed their children on a less regular schedule, used food as a reward or to calm the child, and showed greater concern about their daughters' weight than did other mothers. Scientists believe that these differences may pose a serious risk for the later development of an eating disorder.

EBV See epstein-barr virus.

ECHOvirus A type of virus associated with many infections including meningitis, upper respiratory tract infection, conjunctivitis, and infantile diarrhea. ECHOvirus, which is an acronym for enteric cytopathogenic human orphan virus, includes more than 30 types. The virus is found throughout the world and peaks in summer and fall. Outbreaks are common in day care centers.

Most ECHOvirus infections are mild, but symptoms may vary from mild to lethal and acute to chronic. Other symptoms and infections with which the virus is associated include muscle weakness and paralysis, pericarditis, myocarditis, the common cold, and acute febrile respiratory illnesses.

E. coli infection See Escherichia coli 0157:H7.

Ecstasy (MDMA) An illegal stimulant drug that can kill nerve cells in the brain, also known as 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). The drug, related to the drugs mescaline and amphetamine, is also known as "Adam," "XTC," or just "E."

Ecstasy was first synthesized and patented in 1914 by the German drug company Merck as an appetite suppressant; in the 1970s it was given to therapy patients because it helped them talk about their feelings. This practice was stopped in 1986 when animal studies showed that Ecstasy caused brain damage.

Users say Ecstasy lowers their inhibitions and relaxes them, increases awareness and feelings of pleasure, and gives people energy. However, some people report side effects after taking MDMA, such as headaches, chills, eye twitching, jaw clenching, blurred vision, and nausea. Unlike the drug LSD, low doses of MDMA do not cause people to hallucinate.

Ecstasy gained national attention when it became the drug of choice at parties called "raves." In a survey taken in 2000, 8.2 percent of 12th graders, 5.4 percent of 10th graders, and 3.1 percent of 8th graders reported that they had used MDMA at least once within the year.

Ecstasy appears to have several effects on the brain, boosting the levels of certain neurotransmit-ters. Recent data suggest that MDMA may be toxic to the brain, according to the brain scans of people who have used the drug an average of 200 times over five years. Those who used the drug more often had more brain damage than less frequent users. Moreover, memory tests of people who have taken Ecstasy as compared to non-drug users have shown that Ecstasy users had lower scores. Brain scans also show that there is a 20 percent to 60 percent loss of healthy serotonin cells in the drug users, which could affect a person's ability to remember and to learn. Scientists do not yet know if this damage is permanent, if those damaged cells will replace themselves, or if this loss of cells affects behavior or the ability to think.

ecthyma A shallow ulcerative skin infection caused by bacteria that often results in scarring, similar to a deep form of impetigo, usually found on legs and protected areas of the body. The condi

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