Smorgasbord: Week in Review (Dinner Theatre Edition)

This week's smorgasbord is going to be a little special: I have prepared some lovely entertainment to accompany your readings. After dinner, though. Food comes first!

'Obesity Crusade' Propelling Brit Kids Towards Anorexia. In the wake of France's legislation to make it a crime to 'incite' anorexia, we have an actual study showing that banning such things doesn't mean pro-anorexia websites. A study carried out in the UK showed that "efforts by schools to drum home a healthy eating message are making pupils acutely aware of their weight and inadvertently propelling some to potentially dangerous behaviour."

Ya think?

They also interviewed 40 young people with eating disorders and their comments were chillingly summarized as such:

The study, which went on for four years, revealed that many of them strongly believed that their illness was nurtured, exacerbated or sometimes even caused by the well-meaning action in schools.

“The tales they told were incredibly revealing about what schools were doing, in good faith, that was propelling these girls towards this damaging relationship with food and exercise. the Telegraph quoted Prof John Evans, of Loughborough University, who led the research, as saying.

Much of the research comes from the "National Healthy Schools Programme requires schools to provide visible evidence of healthy eating, physical activity and emotional wellbeing." Which leads me to wonder two things: 1) how are schools going to carry this out? and 2) should they? I think having decent cafeteria food and PE classes and recess where kids are encourage to play and an environment where kids feel safe and nurtured is so important. Except that these definitions have gotten all mucked up in our obese-o-phobic culture. Instead we're risking kids' health and emotional well-being by trying to protect them.

So, France, instead of criminalizing people who are sick but don't know it, give them treatment. It's about time we start holding people who should know better accountable.


Engineers and cats.

If you are not laughing by the end of this video, check your pulse.

Brains of anorexia nervosa patients process self-images differently from non-self-images: An fMRI study. What this study did is pretty much obvious from the title. The first Christmas holiday I went to after I was diagnosed, my parents kind of gave my aunt a crash course into things not to say. She had a question for them: will she think I'm fat? This wasn't asked because she worries about her weight (she doesn't); rather, it was more to understand how I view the world. And the answer was a resounding no.

This study provides an explanation. The regions of the brain that responded to non-self images were the same in both people with anorexia and control subjects. However, there was a substantial difference when each group viewed images of themselves. The scientists conclude (in typical science-speak) that

"AN patients process non-self-images similarly to control subjects, but their processing of self-images is quite discrepant, with a lack of activation of the attentional system or the insula. Such discrepant emotional and perceptual processing may underlie the distortion of self-images by AN patients."

Sorry about the lack of posts- I didn't realize how long it had been until just now!

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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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