Sunday Smorgasbord

This is your weekly smorgasbord, where I trawl the web for ED-related (and not always so related) links, news, research, and more so you don't have to. Enjoy!

As always, send suggestions to carrie [at] edbites [dot] com.

Perfectionism Runs on Mindlessness

What are electrolytes and how are they important?

New insights into the neurological basis of eating disorders

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Cathy (UK) said...

I haven't had the chance to sample all the morsels on your smorgasbord yet Carrie, but I must say that I very much like the last paper - on the 'personal meanings of EDs'.

As a Biomedical scientist I am a fan of neuroscience and the role that neurobiology plays in the development and maintenance of EDs, yet, I also know that what keeps a person in an ED is what they feel their ED means to them. What I like about this paper is the type of research methods employed to collect the data, which are qualitative and not derived from questionnaires with fixed answers. The researchers are asking the participants (ED sufferers) to describe what their ED means to them, and this provides insight to why they remain sick.

The researchers conclude (in part) that " seems that eating difficulties can play an important role in providing a sense of achievement for people, despite the negative consequences associated with many of the behaviours." That is something I would agree with.

Of course, EDs have other meanings too. For example, I know that I was frightened of life outside of my ED because I didn't think I could cope in the world socially. The ED filled my time and was enforced isolation; something I welcomed. And I felt that by restricting food and over-exercising I was achieving something positive.

What helped me to recover from AN was not just weight gain, but tackling the very specific and individual concerns I had about coping with life in general.

I do feel that this type of qualitative study is immensely important...

Danielle said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I found out why my electroylytes were so off-i was drinking so much water. Thanks again, i look forward to reading more of your posts.

Anonymous said...

The Oak House is defiantly closing. It is such a loss. Hopefully the great staff that were there will spread their knowledge and healing talents far and wide.

Carrie Arnold said...


What I find interesting is how people put their eating disorder into words. The neuroscience is fascinating, no doubt about it. Yet we all find different ways of ascribing meaning to what is going on in our life. Obviously, as a science writer, I find the interplay of science and narrative so interesting!

A:) said...

The neuroscience videos were very interesting -- I always enjoy when you post videos of lectures from various professionals. . .

One thing I wonder about is if the weak central coherence and set-shifting is impaired in ALL domains (ex. same level of impairment in social, behavioural, academic, abstract reasoning, etc.) or if there are differences depending on the individual and domain looked at.

For example: I tend to be incredibly detail oriented in relationships and in measures of performance (academics, employee appraisals, weight, calories) but I have very little trouble make comparisons or analogies in random academic subjects like psychology, genetics or cell biology.

I can easily compare and find similiarties between various physiological systems, but I have a great deal of difficulty seeing that an 85% in one class does not undo my whole academic record or represent the entirety of my intelligence.

This is similar in relationships in which I cannot take a conversation (negative or posiitve) with a person (friend, therapist, etc.) in the context of the entire relationship -- that single conversation dicates/defines the status of the relationship regardless of what has happened before.

I also have difficulty set-shifting but I think there are degrees. I am not so impaired that I CANNOT change a way of doing something -- but I like my rituals and routine. I wonder if these traits (weak central coherence and set-shifting) are things that are exacerbated by malnutrition. . .

Very interesting talk. I wish I could be AT some of these talks so I could ask questions!

Carrie Arnold said...


I think we're twins.

I find myself having the same ease of seeing the big picture in more intellectual subjects (namely science, but also in my lit classes. Though how accurate that big picture was in my lit classes is up for debate, seeing as I pulled most of my ideas out of thin air!) but in many other aspects of my life, I get hung up on the stupidest details.

I would love to pick some of these people's brains as well!

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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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