Monday, March 30, 2009
Kudos to Salon and Kate Harding
for this piece on the new study just out from England that may finally shut down the "Anorexia is the mother's fault!" argument. (You have to register on the site to see it, but you can get a free day pass.)
The study looks at brain development in utero, and reinforces the notion that genetics and neurobiology are the biggest culprits when it comes to why some kids develop eating disorders. As Harding writes:
Ian Frampton, a pediatric psychology consultant and co-author of a study to be presented at a conference at the Institute of Education in London this week, says, "Our research shows that certain kids' brains develop in such a way that makes them more vulnerable to the more commonly known risk factors for eating disorders, such as the size-zero debate, media representations of very skinny women and bad parents." The Guardian reports that based on "in-depth neuropsychological testing" on over 200 anorexia patients in the UK, US, and Norway, Frampton and his colleagues found "about 70% of the patients had suffered damage to their neurotransmitters, which help brain cells communicate with each other, had undergone subtle changes in the structure of their brains, or both." In the past, researchers often assumed that anorexia causes changes to sufferers' brains, but these findings suggest that it works the other way around.
One caveat: If you value your sanity, don't read the comments. Unless a huge surge of adrenaline would be a positive development in your evening.
*Full disclosure: Harding mentions Feed Me! in the piece. Thanks, Kate!