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I slept through a lot of science classes in high school, but perked up at least once when I thought I heard my name. I was mistaken, the teacher was talking about another Lister (no relation), the "father of modern antisepsis." Lister and Pasteur and other bright bulbs told people that germs caused infection, and that there was something to be done about it, but they were laughed at and ridiculed. Since "everyone" believed otherwise, and the dead patients weren't complaining, the idea that invisible living things were growing and destroying tissue was considered absurd.

For a while.

Eating disorders, it seems to me, are undergoing a classic paradigm shift. Meanwhile, when you say anorexia and bulimia are brain disorders and weight restoration treats the thoughts and behaviors people look at me as if I'm sadly mistaken and a little bit dangerous.

Unfortunately for those of us impatient (and inpatient) for change NOW, I fear Kuhn, channeling Planck, is probably right: "a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

Food is medicine in eating disorder treatment. The world is round. The earth orbits the sun. Germs cause infection. And it matters.


  1. Comment completely off-topic ... but, this piece is concise, well-formulated, tightly written, and makes a strong statement. I appreciate your use of words today.

  2. I'm touched and honored - thank you SO much!

  3. The truth is in what you believe, until proven false.

    ED empirical evidence is in short supply for a paradigm shift to occur.
    If we wait for the falsifiability theory to prove 'food is medicine' we could all be extinct.

    Just as well pseudoscience and intuitive instincts remind us of what's needed in recovery.
    Thanks for posting this.


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