the binge-eating files » Anorexia

Articles, research on anorexia-related issues: weight, diet, emotional health, mental health

‘You Don’t Look Anorexic’   New York Times (Oct 20, 2022) by Kate Siber — New research shows that our assumptions about eating disorders are often wrong — and that many larger-bodied people are starving themselves … Despite its prevalence, atypical anorexia is still considered widely underdiagnosed and under-researched, and many primary-care doctors have never heard of it … more

Hope Virgo: the woman who survived anorexia – and began Dump the Scales   The Guardian/Interview (July 7, 2021) by Zoe Williams – Hospitalised with an eating disorder as a teenager, she recovered to become a campaigner. Her mission? To show that eating disorders aren’t always visible. Hope Virgo’s description of her descent into anorexia is so harrowing and filled with danger that meeting her in real life – in the south London flat she shares with her fiance – is like meeting the personification of triumph or optimism. … more

Blood Test May Distinguish Anorexia From ‘Constitutional Thinness’   Medscape (Mar 7, 2018) by Liam Davenport – A simple, inexpensive blood test can help clinicians to distinguish between anorexia nervosa (AN) and constitutional thinness (CT) in severely underweight young women, new research suggests. Since the introduction of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the diagnostic criteria for AN have relied on psychological factors, making it harder to distinguish AN from CT. However, a new study of more than 150 young women showed that blood levels of a thyroid hormone can be used to distinguish the two conditions with high sensitivity and specificity. … more

Anorexia And Bulimia Are Black Women’s Diseases, Too   Huffington Post (Feb 26, 2018) by Erica Hawkins … White women are certainly the most visible victims of eating disorders …The National Eating Disorders Association reports that accounts of eating disorders among ethnic minorities are growing, but statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders among women of color still aren’t available. The NEDA believes this is most likely due to the longstanding but erroneous idea that eating disorders only affect white women ― a misperception that may lead to research and reporting biases, and result in relatively little research involving participants from racial and ethnic minority groups. … more

Deep Brain Stimulation Promising for Severe Anorexia  Medscape Medical News (Mar 2, 2017) by Megan Brooks –Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subcallosal cingulate in patients with highly treatment–resistant anorexia nervosa can significantly improve mood, anxiety, affective regulation, and body weight, suggest results of an open-label study. … more

Understanding anorexia ScienceDaily (Feb 19, 2015) – An expert discusses triggers, treatments and the prevalence of anorexia, the deadliest eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is associated with the highest mortality and suicide rates; compared to healthy peers, women with anorexia are up to 12 times more likely to die of any cause, and approximately 57 times more likely to die from suicide, over the same period of time. more…

What if anorexia wasn’t a disorder, but a passion?   The Globe and Mail (Sept 14, 2014) by Adriana Barton — After a century of treating patients with anorexia nervosa, psychiatrists remain stymied as to how to loosen its grip. Forcefeeding may trigger suicide, and in many cases cognitive therapies are no match for patients’ burning drive to stay skeletally thin – even if it kills them. Recently, however, a Canadian scholar challenged conventional ways of thinking about the illness with a theory involving archaic ideas about torturous passions and their power to take over mind, body and soul.   more …

Anorexia fueled by pride about weight loss   ScienceDaily (Aug 4, 2014)) — Those in a new study being treated for anorexia not only suffered with negative emotions but also felt emotionally positive, having a sense of pride over being able to maintain and exceed their weight-loss goals. “Being in control is important for many of these women,” one author said. “What we need to do is find a way to reconnect the positive emotions they feel in losing weight to other aspects of their lives that will lead to a more balanced sense of happiness.” more …

Anorexia is a lifestyle, not a disease’: An investigation into harrowing online forums promoting extreme dieting.   The Telegraph, reprinted by the National Post (Feb 25, 2014) by Sarah Rainey – This is Jade’s story. Jade is 24 and lives in the North East of England. She studied social work at university, but is now unemployed, “because of the obvious.” Instead, Jade runs a website that has thousands of followers around the world. At the top of the home page is a red banner that reads: “Anorexia is a lifestyle, not a disease.”  More

The 200-pound anorexic: Obese teens at risk for disorder, but it’s often unrecognized  (Sept 22, 2013) by Melissa Dahl – Hear “anorexia” and you think bone-thin young women — scary-skinny runway models with emaciated figures. But an overlooked group of young people are also struggling with anorexia nervosa: overweight and even obese kids.   Adolescents with a history of obesity are at “significant risk” for developing anorexia, says Dr. Leslie A. Sim, clinical director of the Mayo Clinic’s eating disorders program, in a recent paper in Pediatrics. But because of their size, their symptoms often go unrecognized and untreated, Sim says.   Link

Brain size may signal risk of developing an eating disorder   ScienceDaily (Aug 22, 2013) New research indicates that teens with anorexia nervosa have bigger brains than teens that do not have the eating disorder. That is according to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine that examined a group of adolescents with anorexia nervosa and a group without. They found that girls with anorexia nervosa had a larger insula, a part of the brain that is active when we taste food, and a larger orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that tells a person when to stop eating.   Link

Anorexic individuals’ disturbed body image influences unconscious movements   ScienceDaily (May 29, 2013) — Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa perceive their bodies as being larger than they are and this disturbed body representation affects their movements, according to research published May 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Anouk Keizer and colleagues from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.   Link

Male anorexia common but hidden   The Toronto Star (May 5, 2013) – Recent studies show about one male case for every three female cases, but few men or boys show up at clinics.  It’s a tight squeeze even now for the tattoo that’s emerging in outline down the length of Jay Walker’s thin but well-muscled arm, video-game-themed artwork on parchment-thin skin.   “People call me lean now,” admits Walker, who at six-foot-one weighs in at 165 pounds.  Three years ago, the fitness and health instructor was 35 pounds lighter, and suffering the hidden malady of male anorexia.  Link

Small trial shows “brain pacemaker” may ease severe anorexia      Reuters (Mar. 06, 2013)  by Kate Kelland – Scientists  have for the first time reported successful use of a brain-stimulating implant to help patients with severe anorexia whose condition had not improved with other treatments.   Doctors implanted a device similar to a pacemaker in the brains of six severe anorexics and found at least half put on weight and showed improvements in mood. Under previous therapies, none had shown progress.    Link

‘Connection Error’ in brains of Anorexics    ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2013) — Researchers have found altered connectivity in the brain network for body perception in people with anorexia: The weaker the connection, the greater the misjudgement of body shape.  When people see pictures of bodies, a whole range of brain regions are active. This network is altered in women with anorexia nervosa. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, two regions that are important for the processing of body images were functionally more weakly connected in anorexic women than in healthy women.   Link

Anorexia hitting men increasingly hard: One in three cases in new study is male   Postmedia News (Jan. 21, 2013) by Sharon Kirkey – Bulimia, anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, long thought to be serious problems for many women, are showing up among surprisingly large numbers of men, some of whom are starving themselves or exercising obsessively to look like the pictures in men’s magazines.   Yet neither men themselves, nor most doctors, think of males as being at risk for these illnesses, experts say.   Link

Pro-anorexic bloggers interviewed    ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2012) — A new research study from Indiana University suggests there may be benefits to the controversial activities of “pro-ana” bloggers, the online community for people with eating disorders.  Most of the 33 bloggers from seven countries interviewed for the study, which has just been published in the journal Health Communication, said their writing activities provide a way to express themselves without judgment, which the authors believe can be crucial to their treatment.   Link

New drug to tackle body fat problems  ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2012) — Medical researchers at the University of Sheffield have defined the structure of a key part of the human obesity receptor- an essential factor in the regulation of body fat – which could help provide new treatments for the complications of obesity and anorexia.    Link

Beyond anorexia, bulimia: Lesser known eating disorders  Health on Today (Apr. 17, 2012) by Jenny Deam – For decades, the eating disorder lexicon had two main entries: anorexia and bulimia. But modern research reveals that these fall woefully short of encompassing the many facets of disordered eating… The new disorder: binge eating.  What it is: compulsive overeating, often to deal with negative emotions or stress.  Binge eaters consume large amounts of food very quickly, until they’re uncomfortably full.  Link

Peer pressure drives “socially transmitted” anorexia  Reuters (Mar. 1, 2012) by Paul Casciato — Anorexia is a socially transmitted disorder and appears to be more prevalent in countries such as France where women are thinner than average, according to new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  The “economic analysis” of anorexia, using a sample of nearly 3,000 young women across Europe, concluded that peer group pressure is one of the most significant influences on self-image and the development of anorexia and appeared just as the autumn/winter season is winding up with Paris Fashion Week.  Link

Boys dying to be thin: the new face of anorexia  NBC News (Feb 22, 2012) by Yardena Schwartz – Their stories may sound rare, but experts say cases like Avi Sinai, Victor Avon and TJ Warschefsky are growing more and more common. Far from the world of beauty magazines, pin-thin celebrities and runway models, anorexia is striking what many consider to be an unlikely group: boys and young men.   Link

How I got an eating disorder at 62 (Aug. 4, 2011) by Sandy Naiman – Words like “anorexia” and “bulimia” bring to mind unwell teenagers, not middle-aged women. But eating disorders – the most fatal mental illnesses known – can take hold at any age. Our author shares her own struggle and talks to the experts about the poorly-understood problem.   Link

Does eating give you pleasure, or make you anxious?   ScienceDaily (May 21, 2011) — While most people have a great deal of difficulty in dieting and losing weight, particularly if a diet extends over many months or years, individuals with anorexia nervosa can literally diet themselves to death. In fact, this disorder has a very high death rate from starvation. A new study sheds light on why these symptoms occur in anorexia nervosa.  Link

An older generation falls prey to eating disorders  New York Times: Well (Mar. 29, 2011) by Tara Parker-Pope – More than 10 million Americans suffer from anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders. And while people tend to think such problems are limited to adolescence and young adulthood, Judith Shaw knows otherwise… Experts say that while eating disorders are first diagnosed mainly in young people, more and more women are showing up at their clinics in midlife or even older. Some had eating disorders early in life and have relapsed, but a significant minority first develop symptoms in middle age. (Women with such disorders outnumber men by 10 to 1.)   Link

Women with eating disorders draw a different picture of themselves than women without, study suggests  ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2011) — Women suffering from anorexia or bulimia draw themselves with prominently different characteristics than women who do not have eating disorders and who are considered of normal weight. This has been revealed in a new joint study from the University of Haifa, Soroka University Medical Center and Achva Academic College, Israel, published in The Arts in Psychotherapy.   Link

Unnamed eating disorders may go untreated: Anorexia and bulimia the most familiar, but not the most common (May 23, 2010) – by Rachael Rettner.  Anorexia and bulimia are probably the most familiar types of eating disorders, but they are not the most common. Some 50 to 60 percent of patients don’t quite make the cut to be diagnosed with full-blown anorexia or bulimia, and are instead classified as having an eating disorder “not otherwise specified” (EDNOS).   Link

Eating Disorders Awareness Week:  The need for increased education, effective treatment and prevention (Feb. 23, 2010) by Susan Blumenthal & Beth Hoffman — This week (February 21st–27th) is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, seven days designated by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to raise awareness about the prevalence, impact and public health significance of these disabling and potentially life-threatening illnesses.  When most people think of someone with an eating disorder, the first image that comes to mind is often that of a young, emaciated woman. But this image does not accurately reflect the clinical picture of eating disorders in America and worldwide. Eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating behavior and obsessive thoughts about food and weight. Someone with an eating disorder can be normal weight, underweight, or overweight. Eating disorders are pervasive, affecting up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide. Once thought of as diseases of upper-middle class adolescents, recent research has shown that eating disorders cross racial, religious, ethnic, and socio-economic lines and that 10-15% of those suffering with eating disorders are men. Anorexia is now the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescent women, and the percentage of college students dieting, purging, or taking laxatives to lose weight has increased in the past decade from about 28 to 38%.   Link

When eating disorders strike in midlife  New York Times: Health (July 13, 2009) by Randi Hutter Epstein — No one has precise statistics on who is affected by eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, often marked by severe weight loss, or binge eating, which can lead to obesity. But experts say that in the past 10 years they are treating an increasing number of women over 30 who are starving themselves, abusing laxatives, exercising to dangerous extremes and engaging in all of the self-destructive activities that had, for so long, been considered teenage behaviors.   Link

Survey puts new focus on binge eating as a diagnosis  New York Times (Feb 13, 2009), by Nicholas Bakalar — Binge eating is not yet officially classified as a psychiatric disorder. But it may be more common than the two eating disorders now recognized, anorexia nervosa and bulimia.  The first nationally representative study of eating disorders in the United States, a nationwide survey of more than 2,900 men and women, was published by Harvard researchers in the Feb. 1 issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry. It found prevalence in the general population of 0.6 percent for anorexia, 1 percent for bulimia and 2.8 percent for binge-eating disorder.  Link

Binge eating more common than other eating disorders, survey finds  ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2007) — The first national survey of individuals with eating disorders shows that binge eating disorder is more prevalent than either anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, also calls binge eating disorder a “major public health burden” because of its direct link to severe obesity and other serious health effects.  Link

Genetic clues to eating disorders  BBC online: Health  (January 21, 1999) — Doctors studying the causes of the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia believe it has less to do with media images of slim-figured models and more to do with biological and genetic factors.  Link

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