Good reading for mid-week

A busy week but taking time to catch up on reading:

Role of the evolutionarily conserved starvation response Another example of innovative thinking on why eating disorders may have developed in humans.

Anticipation of body-scaled action is modified   An interesting exploration of Body Dysmorphia, something we truly need to understand as a field and as a society. This is not a matter of over-valuing thinness or being brainwashed into fearing fat. This is a real, brain-based, harrowing experience where your body schema is altered.

7 Common Myths Something I've long hoped for: including eating disorders as a matter of course when discussing child and adolescent mental health instead of sectioning it off as a weird social phenomenon and metaphor for societal ills.

D.C. clinics offer 'red carpet' treatment to people who may be infected with HIV One of my job hazards is that I'm constantly looking for solutions to the current systems of seeking and accessing eating disorder care. Imagine if the illness here was eating disorders! Instant appointment, coordinated care, single contact as liaison, and looking at the whole thing as a less expensive and more effective approach that benefits the rest of society!


  1. Regarding: Anticipation of body-scaled action is modified

    The effects of this disease are so amazingly complex but I was not surprised when I read the abstract.

    I'm about 10 pounds above my anorexic weight and (now) I can see that I did all of these things:

    Magical thinking, anosognosia, social withdraw & isolation, obsession with food, black and white thinking, personification of Eds, lack of concentration, fear of making mistakes, need to please people, (this list does not even include all the physical effects).

    Slowly, with weight restoration, the effects have lessened but I still can't gauge my size. (I am a terrible driver.)

    There was one time, when I was 90, I turned too quickly and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The indents and hollows, freaked me out but I couldn't hold on to the image.

    I guess that's part of the reason that I didn't stop. We don't body check to be vain, we honestly just Can't See It.

    (I was not surprised when I read the older research that said that people with anorexia don't feel reward when they taste water with sugar.)

    Not only could I not gauge my size, but food still doesn't really have a taste.

    I wonder if it ever gets better?

    BTW, parents or caregivers using reason or logic to try to get us to gauge our size does not work.

    It just made me feel paranoid and DUMB because my brain couldn't grasp the concept.

    I overcompensated by trying to be smart with calorie planning and being the best at starving myself.


    Why does it take scientist so long to put out this research?

    I use to sing along to Silverchair's lyrics (Distorted eyes when everything is clearly dying) since the 90's. But even then, I knew that this wasn't and couldn't just be the effects of a psychological problem.

    I can pretty much guess the outcome to that Bulimia study below.


  2. Thanks for highlighting these articles Laura... There's some interesting stuff here. The first article ('Role of the evolutionary conserved starvation response') is really interesting.

    I fully appreciate the authors' challenging of the the idea that: "AN is generally viewed as a psychosomatic disorder mediated by obsessive concerns about weight, perfectionism and an overwhelming desire to be thin."

    That is how AN appears to others and their interpretation of what they're seeing. It frustrates me that AN is misconstrued as an overwhelming desire to be thin - and not just because of the unfounded assumption that AN is culturally mediated and caused by viewing images of thin women.

    I haven't been able to download the whole paper as yet, but I'm interested in the IGF-1 link. Much of my own research has focused on the role of IGF-1 (especially in bone turnover). The starvation of AN is accompanied by huge reductions in IGF-1 synthesis and circulating IGF-1 levels, as well as alterations in IGF-1 metabolism.

    I agree with the authors that AN is self-perpetuating once starvation sets in. But, as you (and others) know, I also believe that it's important to determine, through post-re-feeding therapy, WHY a person started to starve themselves at the outset. The cause of original food restriction (or over-exercise) may be quite simple: a wish to lose weight, or athletic training. However, in other patients food restriction may have occurred because the individual was deeply distressed following traumatic experiences, social exclusion (etc.). In such cases re-feeding may break the self-perpetuating cycle of AN, but the individual remains terribly vulnerable because they have lost a 'coping' mechanism that helped them to control overwhelming emotions.

    Some people like to view AN in 'black or white': i.e. caused entirely by brain dysfunction vs. caused entirely by society/interpersonal factors. What I don't understand is why some people cannot appreciate 'shades of grey'.

  3. That study about the body-scaled action is interesting. I know I've had issues with that. Last year I had an eye-opening experience when I got a loft bed and was sure that it was so close to the ceiling and I was so big that I was going to be able to turn over. I tried it out, and it turned out that I had over-estimated my body size by about two feet.

    I think that's different than looking in the mirror, though. I really don't know if what I see in the mirror is accurate--I have reason to believe it's not, but it's impossible to know for sure--but I nearly always look smaller in the mirror than I do in my head. Sometimes when I'm in bed at night and I can't see my body, I feel absolutely enormous, and it gets to the point where I have to get up and look in the mirror to reassure myself that I'm not as big as I feel.


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