Anorexia nervosa: The rat or the couch?
A review of the history of anorexia nervosa emphasizes the poor results obtained by the psychological and pharmacological treatments associated with the different changing conceptualization through time. Research with an analogous animal model known as Activity-based Anorexia (ABA) offers a different perspective of the human disorder. According to this animal model, hyperactivity is not considered to be a wilful strategy to burn calories, but a bio-behavioural response linked to the physiological effects of weight loss. The increase of ambient temperature allowed rescuing animals from ABA, constituting a pre-clinical evidence of the potential therapeutic role of heat application to anorexia nervosa patients, which was one of the first recommendations in the history of the treatment of this disorder.