Old data in new skins

Well. Remember when I blogged on some "new" research recently?

I wanted to learn more about the actual paper and not just go from the press reports before I said more.

Well, turns out the research is something you fine folks already knew about, maybe even because I talked about it myself back in September of last year.

The whole paper is significant and important but, fascinatingly enough, I didn't recognize it once it got into those press reports. For one thing, the reports didn't mention the name or location of the published article. The conclusions and implications got new interpretation.

But the title of the paper "The fault is not in her parents but in her insula" is kind of a dead give-away that the author was misquoted and misinterpreted in the press. And none of this changes the fact that the article tended to RE-ignite the debate about how "bad parents" cause eating disorders, of course. And fueled the already suspect fire of media blame.

But it is instructive to see how data and research get into the hands of the public and are interpreted once there. And another opportunity to point you toward that research.


  1. THANKS for the update, Laura. I'm (in a way) glad to hear that the researcher was misquoted rather than out-and-out ignorant.

    It is a shame, though, because the shoddiness of the press release and media coverage cast some doubt over the otherwise strong evidence for a biological basis of eating disorders.

  2. The whole thing has been an interesting experience, Things are often so much more complex than they seem at first.

  3. Can you get a copy of the whole research, not just the abstract? Maybe Carrie can decipher it more for us. What's different about the insula? And neuropsychiatrically? (is that a word)?

  4. Anne,

    The paper is actually a review paper, which means it looks at recent research in the field rather than presenting new data. It looks at far more than the insula, too.


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