Wednesday, July 07, 2010

UC-SD is looking for research participants

One of my next posts is going to be a love letter to the team at UC-San Diego.

Meanwhile, if you live on the west coast and would like to participate in a brain imaging study there, please consider doing it. The folks at UC-San Diego, under the direction of Walt Kaye, are doing some of the most important cutting-edge work on the neurobiology of eating disorders. This is your chance to help them out, get a scan of your brain, and make a little money. Details are below.

In conjunction with Dr. Walter Kaye and his research team, Dr Amanda Bischoff-Grethe is seeking female participants between 12 and 18 years of age who have a recent (within the last six months) diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa. Qualified participants will be asked to answer questions regarding their personality and cognitive abilities and will also undergo a 1.5 hour brain imaging study. By participating in this research study you may assist physicians and researchers in developing treatments for these complex and serious disorders. You may be compensated up to $175 dollars plus mileage. For more information, please contact the UCSD Eating Disorder Treatment and Research Program at or the Research Coordinator, Zoƫ Irvine, at 858-246-0699. We look forward to working with you!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

July 4th is a time to celebrate freedom: freedom from tyranny, from oppression, from authority. These are concepts we typically think of in the context of politics. I've been thinking about a different kind of freedom this year: freedom from eating disorders.

The analogy is apt, though most people don't know it. Having an eating disorder is like being a slave, subject to the whims and demands and impossible expectations of a taskmaster well-versed in the art of punishment. When you have an eating disorder, you do what it says, whether that's to refrain from eating even though you're starting, or to purge every calorie you do eat, or to stay awake when you're exhausted (because you don't deserve to sleep/eat/live). Having an eating disorder is the very opposite of freedom. You're not free to choose when it comes to some of the most fundamental elements of your life.

Anyone who's had an eating disorder can tell you that it's not a choice. You are not exercising free will every time you stick your finger down your throat, or push away a plate. You're in the grip of an irrational tyrant who has no regard for your feelings, your health, your sanity.

So this July 4th, I'm thinking about everyone who's ever struggled with an eating disorder, who's felt the iron grip of tyranny around her throat, stomach, mind, and who is struggling to become free. I want you to know that you can become free. There is hope. There is life outside of the crushing oppression of an eating disorder.

And here's to it, and to you.