Saturday, April 04, 2009

Listen up

A few weeks ago I did a radio interview for a show called "A Touch of Grey." You can now hear the interview online here. (Scroll down to "Harriet Brown.")

If you haven't written an Amazon review of Feed Me! yet, I'd love it if you would. (Even if you didn't like the book.)

Happy spring!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Al has ham. Al is a fat cat. As is a sad fat cat.

Thanks to blog reader Joan M. for sending me the following:
I have a 5 year old and I am teaching her to read. I have a program made by a company called Frontline Phonics. They have a book called "Ham and Jam": Al is a cat (happy smiling cat), Al has ham (happy cat eating), Al has jam (happy cat eating), Al has ham and jam, Al is a fat cat (cat now has distended belly and is frowning), Al is a sad fat cat, Al ran. Al ran and ran. (cat on the treadmill) Al is a cat. (happy thin cat again)

And the questions that the parents are suppossed to ask after they have read the book are: What made Al so fat? What did Al eat first? What did Al do to become thin again? Why is Al smiling?

Talk about teaching kids while they are young to associate fat and sadness and thin with being happy.

Let's tell the story another way:

Harriet is a blogger. Harriet reads about books like this. Harriet feels sad. Harriet feels mad! Harriet's head feels like it might explode. Harriet swears at the screen. Bad screen. Bad books. Bad thinking.

Any of you come across similarly egregious books aimed at early readers? Inquiring minds want to know.

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!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Help for bulimia

I know from personal experience how family-based treatment (FBT, also known as the Maudsley approach) can work in treating anorexia. I'm thrilled that the evidence is mounting for its effectiveness with bulimia, too, especially for teens with bulimia.

But don't take it from me! Maudsley Parents has been putting together information on bulimia and its treatment, which you can see here.

Both Stanford University (where Dr. Lock teaches and researchers) and the University of Chicago (where Dr. le Grange is based) are recruiting teens for bulimia studies right now.

Here's a video of Dr. James Lock, who literally wrote the books (along with Daniel le Grange) in the U.S. on FBT, talking about bulimia: