Why I No Longer Support Studying the Genetics of Eating Disorders – Part I

I no longer support genetics research into eating disorders. Okay, that’s not quite right: I no longer support genetics research into eating disorders under the pretense that it will improve treatment outcomes or prevent eating disorders. I just don’t believe it. Moreover, I think emphasizing the need for a genetic understanding of eating disorders shifts focus away from research and, more importantly, from actions, that can yield much greater benefits much quicker.

It wasn’t always like this. In my third (junior) year of university, I wrote a mini-review on the genetic and neurobiological etiology (cause) of anorexia nervosa. In it, I argued that “in order to improve recovery outcomes, more specific treatments based on genetic and neurobiological evidence need to be developed.” I concluded by writing,

However, with the advent of large-scale genetic databases and worldwide collaboration among researchers resulting in larger sample sizes, the future of AN research

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Financial Burden of Bulimia Nervosa: Cost of Food, Laxatives, Diuretics, and Diet Pills Adds Up

The financial burden of bulimia nervosa can be substantial, and yet little is known about the monetary costs associated with bulimic symptoms. At least little is known in academic circles – there is definitely a lot of anecdotal evidence floating around the internet. I found just one paper from 2009 by Scott J. Crow and colleagues. I stumbled upon it accidentally, actually. I was searching for articles on the economic burden of eating disorders (treatment cost, productivity loss, etc..) for a post I’m planning, but I thought I’d write about this in the mean time.

It is a short paper but I think it is important because it highlights an often overlooked issue.

The method Crow et al used to evaluate how much money individuals with bulimia nervosa spend on food, laxatives, diuretics and diet pills is simple (keep in mind, this hasn’t really been done before). Essentially, they asked … Continue reading →