Smorgasbord: Week in Review

Some of the stories that caught my eye this week:

Could schizophrenia be entirely genetic? It's certainly a good question to ask. I believe that mental illness really means "brain disease," that these are real, neurological underlying conditions. This isn't just Susie being contrary or Johnny being glum. One of the questions for comment in this blog/press release/whatever is this: "How likely do you think it is, that Schizophrenia could be entirely genetic, with no involvement of triggering factors?" My answer? Zero. Environment is ALWAYS a factor; not a cause, but a factor. You aren't born with symptoms of full-blown schizophrenia. This means it has to develop at some point in time. Why does it develop? How? When? What triggers it? Even if the process doesn't need to be triggered by, say, a horrible childhood or fears of snakes, there is still a process. It's nature AND nurture. They work together.

African Americans and Eating Disorders. This is a 15 minute segment on NPR that I listened to yesterday. I think it does a good job of raising awareness of eating disorders in people that don't fit the "white" part of the "young, white, and female" stereotype about eating disorders. The sufferer interviewed was unable to get care for years because doctors wouldn't believe that an African American woman would have anorexia and bulimia. I didn't like that everyone interviewed said it was "a coping mechanism" that was about "control." Still, I think it's important to start looking beyond the stereotypes, and it's worth a listen.

Healthy Eating May Be Hazardous to Your Health. This article covers a sub-clinical eating disorder (not officially named in the book of all books, the DSM), orthorexia nervosa. The name is an amalgamation of some Greek words, ultimately meaning "an obsession with proper eating." The defining book on the subject is "Health Food Junkies," which I have not read but have heard good things about. I firmly believe there is a massive overlap between anorexia and OCD, but here, I actually think orthorexia is actually OCD itself. They are clearly fueled and intensified by the malnutrition that such selective eating can bring, but I think that the obsessions and compulsions in orthorexia clearly fall into an OCD diagnosis. (This is a totally half-baked theory. I don't have the time or energy to get into it now, nor have I researched it properly. At any rate...)

Until next week, it's back to your regular programming, kids.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote



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