Saturday, September 13, 2008

No evidence-based treatment for anorexia?

According to this study, which is an overview of 40 years of eating disorders treatments, there are still no evidence-based treatments for anorexia nervosa. "A specific form of family therapy (based on the Maudsley model) appears promising," write the study's authors.

Appears promising? Actually, FBT, or the Maudsley approach, has been shown to be successful (85 to 90 percent long-term recovery rates) for treating both anorexia and bulimia. In the last 10 years there have been several good studies on FBT, including this one, this one, and this one.

And yet some of the top researchers in the field are still saying that there is no evidence-based treatment for anorexia, and that the Maudsley approach "appears promising." Which is rather like saying that there appears to be a link between smoking and lung cancer.

After 40 years with no other good treatments, you'd think researchers would jump on this one. So why the damning with faint praise?

Come on, you guys. You're the ones who can get the word out to parents best. You have a moral obligation to spread the word about FBT--the ONLY evidence-based treatment we've got at the moment for treating anorexia. I'll be thrilled if we turn up more treatments that are effective. In the meantime, though, let's use what we've got.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Take a survey, help eating-related research

The invitation below comes from a graduate student at the University of Maryland. Please correspond directly with her if you have questions. Take the survey and help add to what we know about eating.


TO ALL WHO WROTE IN: The link has been fixed now. Thanks for letting me know!


Do you love food? Can you often “out-eat” most of your friends? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you may be a great candidate to take my survey.

My name is Colleen Schreyer, and I am a grad student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I am doing my master’s thesis on individuals who are able to eat a lot of food, and genuinely enjoy eating. I am also looking at individuals who are able to eat a lot of food, and perhaps don’t feel so good about it. I have an online survey that takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. All participants are entered in a drawing to win an Apple Ipod. Your answers are completely confidential, and I have approval from my university to conduct this research. If you would be willing to check out the survey, please click on thIS link. All and any help is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please email me- Thanks so much for your time!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An open letter to all diet food peddlers

Due to the recent avalanche of PR-type emails to my inbox, I feel compelled to write this letter.

If you do PR for a diet-related product, please do not send me emails offering to send me samples and hoping I'll review it on my blog.

Don't send me perky emails about 100-calorie foods that will fill you up all day, packed full of unparalleled nutrients. (Really! Who dreams this crap up?) Don't think I'll shill for you. I won't. If I write about your diet product, rest assured I will tear it apart. That kind of publicity you really don't want.

This blog is NOT diet friendly. To paraphrase my late friend Mimi Orner, we are anti-diet, anti-anorexia, anti-bulimia, anti-healthy eating fascism, and anti-eating disorder here. I am not your friend. My readers are not your potential customers.

This blog is a diet-free zone. Go peddle your crap somewhere else.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Support group for parents: Madison, Wisconsin

The next meeting of the Madison, Wisconsin, parent support group will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Starbucks, 3515 University Avenue. This group is parent run and offers support, practical advice, encouragement, and hope for parents whose children are struggling with eating disorders, with a special emphasis on Family-Based Treatment (also known as the Maudsley approach).

For more information, contact Denise Reimer,

And if you'd like me to post a parent support group in your area, please email me off the blog at hnbrown at tee dee ess dot net.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Naturally fat?

This comment, made in response to an earlier post, seems to epitomize so much of the anti-obesity attitude that I thought it deserved its own post:

Of course there's nothing wrong with being fat. I don't get why fat people get offended when we say that obesity is dangerous. We're not talking about people who are fat. We're talking about people who are dangerously obese. You remind me of the naturally skinny girls who get offended when people speak out against anorexia nervosa and complain, "Why does everyone hate skinny people? Wah!"

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being naturally fat or naturally skinny. But if someone is deathly thin or morbidly obese then it is a real problem.

So first of all, please tell us how to distinguish between "naturally fat" and "morbidly obese." What is "naturally fat"? Is it the-amount-of-fat-I would-have-had-if-I'd-never-gone-on-a-diet? Is it 5 pounds "overweight"? 20? 50? Is it the same for you as it is for me? Is it fat that comes from eating avocados and almonds as opposed to chocolate cake and ice cream? Who decides what constitutes natural fat vs. unnatural fat?

I'm fascinated by the semantics around this issue. Morbidly obese = morbidity = a death sentence if you're fat. When's the last time you heard anyone called "morbidly skinny"? And yet semi-starvation can certainly kill you.

Personally I don't know any "naturally skinny girls who get offended when people speak out against anorexia nervosa." Someone who is thin but not eating disordered typically wouldn't be offended by this. Someone who's eating disordered, either diagnosed or subclinically, might well be offended because the nature of anorexia is to be ego-syntonic. They identify the illness with themselves and will defend it to the death--their own. They can't help it; it's a symptom of the disease.

I hope my readers will weigh in (so to speak) on this one. I'd like to know what you think.