Six month ago I made my first post on the Science of Eating Disorders blog. I want to say a huge big thank you to everyone who reads, “Likes”, shares, comments and subscribes! This has been one of the most (if not the most) rewarding thing I’ve ever done (for real). I’m really happy that I have wonderful contributors who blog about their own interests and share their insight. I’m really happy people comment when they disagree, find something confusing or suggest topics for future posts.
In the last half a year I’ve amassed a large collection of search terms have landed people on the Science of Eating Disorders blog. Most are unremarkable, some are funny, others are worrisome. Once in a while people ask questions. Questions that I want to answer, false beliefs I want to tackle, or simply share with others because they are just too funny (and serve as good starting points for a serious topic).
So, to take a break from doing a typical post, I want to answer some of the search queries that have led people …
Refrigerator mothers or the idealization of thin models? Toxic families or toxins in our diets? Oh, if only determining the cause (because it has to be just one, right?) of eating disorders was that simple. All behaviour has a biological basis, a neurobiological correlate. The way our brains function—and the resulting behaviours— is due to complex interactions between our genome, epigenome, and the environment. Eating disorders do not have a single cause; we cannot put the blame solely on families, or thin models, vanity or genetics.
As a science grad student, I am interested in how non-scientists interpret scientific findings on mental disorders, particularly eating disorders. With respect to eating disorders, I am interested in how patients’ understanding of the science shapes the way they view themselves and their eating disorders, as well as how it shapes their treatment and recovery.
In a recent paper, Michele Easter wanted to find out just that; she wanted to know how patients with eating disorders view the increasing focus of genetics in eating disorders on ED stigma. She interviewed 50 women with a history of …
As many of you already know, Vogue has recently banned models that are “too-thin” (and “too young”). It is a big step in the right direction, no, a huge step, and one deserving an applause, that’s according to an article on allvoices.com. Cue a drop in the prevalence of eating disorders, right? The logic in most articles, whether implicit or explicit, seems to be: no more skinny models = no more girls aspiring to be like skinny models = no more eating disorders.
Sounds more like a PR move to me, but OK. I do have some questions and thoughts:
What does “appear[ing] to have an eating disorder” mean? Bulimics, by definition, are of normal weight or overweight. Conversely, being thin doesn’t mean having an eating disorder.
BMI above or below a certain number is not a marker of “good health”. BMI demarcations are not scientifically derived and were never meant to be applied on an individual basis.
Finally, this perpetuates the idea that looking at skinny models for too long leads to an eating disorder. It …
Hello all, Saren here. I’m honored that Tetyana asked me to be her co-contributor to ScienceofEDs, and am looking forward to collaborating on the project. My interests and background tend more towards the clinical; I don’t have the neuroscience training that she does, so I hope to bring a slightly different perspective while remaining committed to the research focus of the site. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, critiques or suggestions – I’d love to hear from you!
For my first post, I’m going to focus on one of the basic areas that much of the recent ED research aims to address:
We hear a lot about how eating disorders are complex syndromes with multiple causes. Articles in the popular press run the gamut from asserting genetic risk factors to proclaiming that Facebook causes eating disorders. In addition, disordered eating practices and poor body image are often conflated with the full-blown clinical disorders, further serving to muddy the waters.
Eating disorders have long thought to be caused by familial conflict and sociocultural pressures …