Science of Eating Disorders

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Dedicated to making eating disorder research more accessible to the public, Science of Eating Disorders summarizes and reviews recent findings in peer-reviewed research on the genetics, neurobiology and psychiatry of eating disorders.

Tetyana
124 posts

Saren
4 posts

Gina
3 posts

Shelly Fan
4 posts

Andrea
45 posts

Shirley Wang
0 posts

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  • February 21, 2015
  • 05:33 PM
  • 163 views

Of Binge Eating, Age, and Distress: Child-Adolescent vs. Adult-Onset Binge Eating

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

Brewerton, Rance, Dansky, O’Neil & Kilpatrick (2014) conducted a study about BED in which they used a (US) nationally representative sample to compare child/adolescent and adult onset BED in women. In this post, I’ll highlight the authors’ findings and what they mean for our increasing understanding of BED and how to support those experiencing BED.... Read more »

  • February 4, 2015
  • 02:51 AM
  • 193 views

Beyond Thinness: Men, Muscularity and Eating Disorders

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

Eating disorder research tends to focus on girls and women. Which makes sense: eating disorders disproportionately affect women. However, it isn’t just the research on eating disorders that focuses on women: it’s the entire history of eating disorders as a diagnosis. The first descriptions of anorexia nervosa by William Gull and bulimia nervosa by Gerald Russell were both based primarily on observations of female patients (although Russell did include two men). Therefore, it’s ........ Read more »

  • January 31, 2015
  • 10:48 AM
  • 238 views

Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders - Part 5

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

We’ve begun to scratch the surface of the vast and growing literature on cultural context and eating disorders in the previous 4 posts in this series. Of course, as I reflected the other day, there could (maybe should?) be a blog solely devoted to this topic- each time I read another study in this area, it pulls me down the rabbit hole into another related area.... Read more »

Bennett D, Sharpe M, Freeman C, & Carson A. (2004) Anorexia nervosa among female secondary school students in Ghana. The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science, 312-7. PMID: 15458991  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 202 views

Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders - Part 4

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

The more I write about culture and eating disorders, the more I want to know. I keep finding more articles to add to the mix; I know I’m far from the first to be interested in how culture and eating disorders intersect, and for that matter, what counts as “culture.” Still, this has been a fascinating exploration so far! In case you're curious, this is to be the second last post in the series for now at least. There will be one more after this, about eating disorders in Gha........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2015
  • 09:13 AM
  • 218 views

Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders - Part 3

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

The articles I’ve looked at so far in this series (Becker, in part 1, and Keel and Klump in part 2) give us some insight into the idea that the link between “Western” societies and eating disorders is more complex than a simple matter of media exposure. But, having read these studies, I was still left a bit wanting in terms of unpacking that black box of “culture” that gets tossed around in scholarly and popular literature. What, exactly, are we talking about when w........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 10:15 AM
  • 156 views

Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders- Part 2

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

... Read more »

  • January 18, 2015
  • 02:16 PM
  • 217 views

Whose Culture is it Anyway? Disentangling Culture and Eating Disorders - Part 1

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

Often, in writing about eating disorders, you will come across references to how some consider these disorders to be “culture bound.” If you start to unpack what researchers and clinicians are referring to, you might come to the conclusion that “culture bound” means specific to one particular culture or society, for example, modern Western society.... Read more »

  • January 8, 2015
  • 09:21 PM
  • 265 views

Temperament in Eating Disorders

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

Much research has been done on personality traits associated with eating disorders, and, as I’ve blogged about here and here, on personality subtypes among patients with EDs. For example, researchers have found that individuals with AN tend to have higher levels of neuroticism and perfectionism than healthy controls (Bulik et al., 2006; Strober, 1981). Moreover, some traits, such as anxiety, have been associated with a lower likelihood of recovery, whereas others, such as impulsivity, with........ Read more »

Atiye M, Miettunen J, & Raevuori-Helkamaa A. (2014) A Meta-Analysis of Temperament in Eating Disorders. European eating disorders review : the journal of the Eating Disorders Association. PMID: 25546554  

  • January 3, 2015
  • 10:00 AM
  • 261 views

Resistance is (not so) Futile? Exploring Treatment Resistance in Eating Disorders

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

To me, the idea of “treatment resistance” in eating disorders sparks some ill feelings. While many have suggested that treatment resistance is common among those with eating disorders, others have noted how receiving the label of “treatment resistant” can make it more difficult to receive needed support or impact how one is perceived in treatment settings and how one’s behaviours are interpreted (e.g., Gremillion, 2003).... Read more »

Abbate-Daga, G., Amianto, F., Delsedime, N., De-Bacco, C., & Fassino, S. (2013) Resistance to treatment in eating disorders: A critical challenge. BMC Psychiatry, 13(1), 294. DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-13-294  

  • December 29, 2014
  • 01:11 PM
  • 304 views

Smartphone Apps for the Treatment of Eating Disorders

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

As of January 2014, over 50% of adults in the United States own a smartphone; unsurprisingly, there has been a growth in the number of mobile applications (apps) aimed at providing health care services for various mental (and physical) health problems, including eating disorders. The purpose of mobile health technologies is to utilize the functionality of smartphones to deliver a wide range of health services, including providing psychoeducation, treatment services and/or recovery support.
... Read more »

Juarascio AS, Manasse SM, Goldstein SP, Forman EM, & Butryn ML. (2014) Review of Smartphone Applications for the Treatment of Eating Disorders. European eating disorders review : the journal of the Eating Disorders Association. PMID: 25303148  

  • December 13, 2014
  • 01:45 PM
  • 196 views

Making Connections: Peer Support and Eating Disorder Recovery

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

I feel like a broken record when I say that we continue to lack an evidence base for most “alternative” forms of support for eating disorders. As I’ve noted in prior posts, just because something is not evidence based does not mean it does not work for anyone; often, an evidence base is established when researchers can secure enough funding to run a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) that would act as evidence.
... Read more »

  • December 5, 2014
  • 08:27 AM
  • 191 views

Treating Severe Anorexia Nervosa In The Community

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

Can treatment for severe anorexia nervosa be delivered safely in a community setting? According to a recent paper by Calum Munro and colleagues (2014, open access), the answer is yes.
... Read more »

  • November 28, 2014
  • 04:57 PM
  • 284 views

Fat Talk Free Zone: What is the Impact of Fat Talk on Body Dissatisfaction?

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders


There has been a veritable explosion of “anti-fat talk” movements in the body image and eating disorder prevention realms over the past few years. Indeed, campaigns like the Tri-Delta Sorority Fat Talk Free week have become relatively well known. Events like the “Southern Smash,” where participants literally smash scales are other iterations of this social phenomenon encouraging a more positive conversation around bodies.
I am, of course, a fan of the idea that we shouldn’t put o........ Read more »

  • November 11, 2014
  • 11:55 AM
  • 373 views

Recovering from an Eating Disorder in a Society that Loves Fat Shaming (and Dieting)

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders


Is ED recovery easier when your body is “normative or stereotypically desirable”? The anon asking the question implied that recovery could be more difficult because “an obese person … will never stop hearing hearing extremely triggering stuff about their body type.” Anon asked, “Have there been any studies on this?” Andrea tackled this question in her last post (it might be helpful to read it first if you haven’t yet); in this post, I........ Read more »

Bulik, C.M., Marcus, M.D., Zerwas, S., Levine, M.D., & La Via, M. (2012) The changing "weightscape" of bulimia nervosa. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 169(10), 1031-6. PMID: 23032383  

McKisack, C., & Waller, G. (1997) Factors influencing the of group psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 22(1), 1-13. PMID: 9140730  

  • November 11, 2014
  • 11:54 AM
  • 296 views

Recovering from an Eating Disorder in a Society that Loves Fat Shaming (and Dieting)

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

Is ED recovery easier when your body is “normative or stereotypically desirable”? The anon asking the question implied that recovery could be more difficult because “an obese person … will never stop hearing hearing extremely triggering stuff about their body type.” Anon asked, “Have there been any studies on this?” Andrea tackled this question in her last post (it might be helpful to read it first if you haven’t yet); in this post, I will expand ........ Read more »

Bulik, C.M., Marcus, M.D., Zerwas, S., Levine, M.D., & La Via, M. (2012) The changing "weightscape" of bulimia nervosa. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 169(10), 1031-6. PMID: 23032383  

McKisack, C., & Waller, G. (1997) Factors influencing the of group psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 22(1), 1-13. PMID: 9140730  

  • November 6, 2014
  • 11:24 AM
  • 268 views

Eating Disorder Recovery In a Non-Normative Body

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders


Do you think it is easier for someone to recover from an ED when they have a more normative or stereotypically desirable body? Versus, say, an obese person who will never stop hearing extremely triggering stuff about their body type everywhere they turn? . . .
This post was originally written in response to the above question that was posed to Tetyana on the SEDs Tumblr (you can see the full question and Tetyana’s response here).
This is an interesting and timely question, and on........ Read more »

  • October 31, 2014
  • 12:05 PM
  • 424 views

I Need How Many Calories? Caloric Needs in Bulimia Nervosa Patients

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders


In the 1980s, a few studies came out suggesting that patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) require fewer calories for weight maintenance than anorexia nervosa patients (e.g., Newman, Halmi, & Marchi, 1987) and healthy female controls (e.g., Gwirtsman et al., 1989).
Gwirtsman et al. (1989), after finding that patients with bulimia nervosa required few calories for weight maintenance than healthy volunteers, had these suggestions for clinicians:
When bulimic patient........ Read more »

de Zwaan, M., Aslam, Z., & Mitchell, J.E. (2002) Research on energy expenditure in individuals with eating disorders: a review. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 31(4), 361-9. PMID: 11948641  

Gwirtsman, H.E., Kaye, W.H., Obarzanek, E., George, D.T., Jimerson, D.C., & Ebert, M.H. (1989) Decreased caloric intake in normal-weight patients with bulimia: comparison with female volunteers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49(1), 86-92. PMID: 2912015  

  • October 2, 2014
  • 07:46 PM
  • 342 views

Ambivalence and Eating Disorders: Inpatient Treatment, Belonging, and Identity

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders


When Tetyana Tweeted and “Tumblr-ed” (is there a better name for putting something on Tumblr?) a quote from a qualitative research article about ambivalence and eating disorders, I knew I would want write a blog post about it. Of course, life happened, and so this post is coming a little later than I had intended. Nonetheless, I am happy to be sharing a post about a fresh article by Karin Eli (2014) about eating disorders and ambivalence in the inpatient hospital setting. The article i........ Read more »

  • September 20, 2014
  • 06:48 PM
  • 156 views

Living in Our Bodies: Embodiment, Eating Disorders and the IDEA Scale

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders

A good deal of my time is devoted to reading articles about eating disorders, feminism, qualitative research, and embodiment. I don’t know if this makes me a very interesting person or a very boring one, but it certainly makes me a very opinionated one, especially about these topics. Lately, I’ve been exploring the literature around eating disorders and embodiment in particular, trying to get a sense of how researchers attend to “embodiment” in the development, course, an........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2014
  • 02:11 PM
  • 342 views

Unpacking Recovery Part 5: Clinical Recovery without a Clinic?

by Andrea in Science of Eating Disorders


It can be somewhat controversial to suggest that untreated recovery from eating disorders is possible. Certainly, people have varied opinions about whether someone can enact the difficult behavioral and attitudinal changes necessary to recover without the help of (at the very least) a therapist and a dietitian. Nonetheless, we still hear stories about individuals who consider themselves recovered without having sought out external sources of professional support.
When I think about untreat........ Read more »

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