A large-scale, international whole-genome analysis has now revealed for the first time that anorexia nervosa is associated with genetic anomalies on chromosome 12. This finding might lead to new, interdisciplinary approaches to its treatment. The study was led by the University of North Carolina and has been published in the prestigious “American Journal of Psychiatry”. Child and adolescent psychiatrist Andreas Karwautz from MedUni Vienna’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry was responsible for the Austrian contribution.
Silicon Valley Teens: Less Sex, Drugs, and Violence, but Bored in School
SAN JOSE — Fewer high school students are drinking, having sex, doing drugs and resorting to violence, a large-scale survey of Santa Clara County public school students shows. At the same time, engagement in school has plunged, as has students’ optimism about their future.
This mixed picture of youth well-being emerges in Project Cornerstone’s Silicon Valley youth survey — the first in six years — of 43,000 youths at more than 180 elementary, middle and high schools in Santa Clara County. The survey was administered last fall, and the results were released this spring.
“There are a lot of positives, but kids are telling us they’re bored in school,” said Anne Ehresman, executive director of Project Cornerstone, about the high school results. “That breaks my heart.”
SARATOGA — Do you know Paraag Marathe? You don’t know Paraag Marathe.
“Hey, it’s the same oven!” he exclaimed.
We had just entered the front door of Mountain Mike’s pizza parlor. Marathe grew up blocks away. But this was far more than Marathe’s old stomping ground. This was much more.
“I don’t know how long it’s been since I was here,” Marathe said, gazing around. “I helped my dad set up this place. I hired the first employees, I picked out this furniture. I picked this color scheme.”
Yes, it turns out there is a lot that all of us don’t know about Paraag Marathe. I used to think that was exactly how he and the 49ers wanted it. But as we sat down for a nearly two-hour lunch at the restaurant that this family once owned, a lot of insightful doors opened up into the team’s mystery man.
ONE OCTOBER DAY in the fall of my junior year of college, I found myself sitting in a chair across from a small blond woman with a look of deep concern on her face as she stared into mine. She had something to tell me, she said, and it was clear she knew that the something would upset me. Her eyes were wide, her hands on the arms of a chair that would have been more appropriate in a public library lounge. Her windowless office was warmly lit with a few small lamps, none of the bright fluorescence and antiseptic shine of a doctor’s office. Still, it was a doctor’s office, or at least it was an office in which something resembling medical care was taking place, and I had the feeling she was about to tell me that mine could no longer take place here.
Eating disorders (EDs) pose a serious threat to physical and mental wellbeing. Anorexia (AN) is characterized by extreme diet restriction and fear of weight gain, bulimia (BN) by vicious binge-purge cycles, and binge eating disorder (BED) by frequent binges, or consuming very large quantities of food while feeling a loss of control over one’s action. Individuals experiencing significant distress and impairment from maladaptive thoughts and behaviors related to eating, food, or body image but who do not meet criteria for AN, BN, or BED may also be diagnosed with Other Specified Eating and Feeding Disorder (OSFED). Moreover, EDs do not always occur in isolation. The complications associated with eating disorders can be exacerbated or prolonged when combined with alcohol misuse and binge drinking. In fact, eating disorders are highly comorbid with substance use disorders, particularly alcohol use disorder. This co-occurrence, however, varies across diagnostic subtypes. For example, research studies have found that individuals with BN may be up to three times more likely to report alcohol misuse problems than women without BN. Among individuals with AN, those with binge-purge subtype endorse higher rates of alcohol abuse (22%) compared to restricting subtype (12%). Research has also identified biological factors that may partly account for the relationship between the two disorders. Recent genetic analyses have observed strong genetic overlap between bulimic behaviors (e.g., binging and purging via vomiting, laxative use, excessive exercise, or diet pills) and problematic alcohol use and alcohol dependence., Brain imaging studies have shown similar patterns of activation in executive control and some reward regions of the brain in alcohol use disorder and BN/BED.
As those who work with people with eating disorders know, the landscape is changing in ways both positive and negative, exciting and troubling, and medically/therapeutically appropriate and terribly harmful, often at the same time. As the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders have changed to reflect the people we actually see in our offices, one positive shift has been the change in patient demographics. Though there is an unfortunate absence of research into this issue, one anecdotal change has been the increase in men seeking therapeutic assistance for eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, compulsive exercising, weight gain/loss, and many other issues commonly thought of as being the purview of women (Cox, 2017).
I recently jumped at the opportunity to form a men’s group at Balance Eating Disorder Treatment Center, in NYC. It was something I’ve wanted for awhile, but amassing a concentrated group of men to form a group has proved difficult. Balance advertised in as broad a manner as possible to attract as many members as possible. We invited men interested in examining their relationship with food, body, self, and society, focusing on body image concerns, emotional eating, relationship issues and sexuality, nutrition, healthy exercising, communication, and coping skills. We didn’t know who would respond.
Bipartisan Resolution for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives
On June 29, 2017, Congressman Tim Murphy [R-PA-18] and Congressman G.K. Butterfield [D-NC-1] of the House Energy & Commerce Committee led the introduction of a bipartisan House of Representatives Resolution to create a Congressionally recognized National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. With fortytwo bipartisan U.S. House of Representatives signing-on as original co-sponsors, House Resolution Number 428 (H.Res.428) demonstrates a strong Congressional support for raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders.
The Resolution syncs with the eating disorder community’s over two-decade tradition of celebrating the National Eating Disorders Awareness week, designating the last week of February as the recognized week. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is the largest national campaign that brings public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.
Asking for help can take many different forms and can be quite challenging. When struggling with an eating disorder, taking this action can be more complex than a simple, straightforward request. What are some of the reasons why asking for help can be so difficult? Why do “cries for help” appear in disguise? And what about these two questions can be specific to eating disorder recovery?
This article uses the term, eating disorders, to refer to anorexia nervosa, (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). Three factors that are active in eating disorders, complex on their own, as well as elaborately entangled are shame, internal criticism, and diminished self-worth.
In the new Netflix film, “To the Bone,” up-and-coming young star Lily Collins plays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman with anorexia who is starving herself because she has come to believe that she can never be thin enough.
The film won’t be released for streaming until July 14, but it’s already creating quite a stir. Some groups say this major motion picture could start an important national discussion about eating disorders, what the national nonprofit Project Heal calls “the most stigmatized, misunderstood and under-recognized of all mental illnesses.”
But others worry that “To the Bone” could be the next “Thirteen Reasons Why.” That is, another Netflix movie accused of romanticizing self-destructive and potentially lethal behavior among young people.
Getting the right diagnosis often isn’t easy for psychiatric conditions. In our field, we don’t yet have biologic tests that can easily define one condition from another. If your blood pressure is 140 over 90, you have hypertension or high blood pressure. In mental health, we have to rely on a description of patterns or symptoms to makes diagnoses. This model is fraught with challenges.
Without a clear biological model to work from, and given the complexity of the human brain, the field has settled upon dividing these descriptions of symptoms into syndromes. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) holds these symptom descriptions in order to help professionals make reliable and consistent diagnoses. This means a social worker in Detroit should make the same diagnosis as a psychiatrist in Boston and a psychologist in Santa Fe. However, the diagnostic process is more complex than just reading symptoms in a DSM.