Sunday Smorgasbord

Time again for your weekly jaunt through the world of ED-related news that you may have missed. I hope you enjoy this week's selection of yummy morsels!

"Winning the War on Weight"

And so is titled a press release about a recent study out of Australia, which looked at what obese people thought about their ability to change their behaviors. From the press release:

"Severely obese individuals felt an urgent and desperate need to change their health behaviours, but felt completely powerless to do so. Most felt worried and scared about the potential health consequences of their weight. Most felt blamed and ashamed by public health and education campaigns about obesity, which did little to actually help them address their weight," Dr Thomas said.

Dr Thomas said in contrast, people whose weight fell within the mild to moderately obese range understood they were significantly overweight but did not believe they needed to lose weight to improve their health and wellbeing.

"Those individuals, with a BMI between 30 and 40, believed they could lose weight if they needed to, but did not feel this was an urgent health priority as most felt physically healthy," Dr Thomas said.

"Most of the study participants in this category deliberately sought to distance themselves from public health messages about obesity and the word obesity because of the social stigma attached to the condition. They also stigmatised those who were fatter than themselves."
The take-home point? Shaming people about their weight doesn't work! (Whoda thunk?)

Maybe we could start to win the war on weight when we sit down and just stop fighting it.

Health Tweeder

Described by @WiredScience as "a beautiful visualization of disease chatter on Twitter," Health Tweeder is definitely pretty to look at and fun to play with. It's a fantastic time-waster. I know- you can thank me later.

Historic Cookbooks, 1900-1910

If you're interested in what people were cooking and how they were eating, this link is for you. All of the cookbooks are scanned and full-text.

The Skinny on Fat in Fiction

A brief but insightful overview of the use of fat characters in recent literature. Writes Beth Carswell:

In reality, people walk around in various shapes and sizes, and that's just the way it is. If they're fat, it's only one aspect of the things that make them up - who they are, and what they are. Their size is incidental, circumstantial, not the main focal point of them as a person. But in writing fiction, the author, playing a God of sorts, has to make decisions. It seems in describing someone's physical attributes, there is a reason to make them that way, and fat tends to carry the most connotations.
Prefrontal brain function in children with anorexia nervosa

It appears that teens with anorexia are able to perform verbal tasks as well as their unaffected peers, but they use different neural patterns to arrive at their responses. The authors conclude that "might apply fewer brain circuits or fewer neurons per circuit during cognitive tasks and might use different brain circuits in relation to their preoccupation with eating behaviors." Whether this altered neural functioning is a result of the starvation arising from anorexia, or an underlying difference, remains to be seen.

Trends in ED hospitalization in Poland, 2003-2007

From the abstract (it's the only part of the article in English!):

Despite the increase in eating disorders prevalence rates in young people in the world, the systematic decrease of hospitalization of patients with eating disorders in Poland was observed. The decrease of patients' age was also noticed. Females were hospitalized much more often than males, what was observed in previous study.
It would be interesting to see whether this is due to a decrease in the actual number of eating disorders, a decrease in diagnosis, or an improvement of outpatient treatments. The abstract didn't indicate trends in EDs outside of hospitalization, which would probably shed some light on this trend.

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1 comment:

Cathy (UK) said...

Tasty bites as usual... I find the study of prefrontal brain function particularly interesting. I have often wondered whether, in studies of regional brain perfusion in low weight anorexia nervosa, the observations are attributable to either or both of:

1. Altered activity of neurons in certain regions (e.g. due to hypoglycaemia and starvation-induced anatomical changes), which results in reduced perfusion.

2. Low systemic blood pressure which alters regional brain perfusion and so disturbs the activities of various brain regions.

When my BMI was below 15 I had very low blood pressure; sometimes as low as 70/40. I felt dizzy and had floaters in front of my eyes. Often I fainted when I stood up suddenly, or if I remained standing for too long. Sometimes I couldn't think straight or get words out. When I lay down for a while and my brain became better perfused I could think more clearly - presumably because my brain metabolism improved.

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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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