Archive | Epidemiology RSS feed for this section

The sky is (not) falling: Setting the record straight on the so-called eating disorder epidemic

Eating disorders can be a popular topic in the media, especially when they have to do with celebrities. They are usually filled with gasp-inducing statistics, a stock photo of an empty dinner plate, a bathroom scale, a tape measure, and/or a thin young woman in her underwear, possibly with scale or tape measure. It’s not […]

Read more

Not just small adults: eating disorders in young children

More and more researchers and clinicians are becoming aware of the presence of eating disorders in young children (defined here and in most of the research literature as ED onset at less than 13 years). I have known five-year-olds with full-blown anorexia nervosa. Whether this awareness is due to people developing EDs at an earlier […]

Read more

A tale of two anorexia genetics studies

Over the past month, there have been two major, news-grabbing studies on the genetics of anorexia. Both of these studies carried headlines saying something like “Anorexia genes found!” There are several problems with this: There are┬áno such thing as “anorexia genes” These two studies were VERY different and found VERY different things. Given that the […]

Read more

Puberty and Eating Disorders- The Perfect Storm

Puberty sucks. Let’s just get that out of the way. Your body is changing, sprouting breasts and zits at the most inopportune of times. The angst of being more or less “developed” than your friends (hello, locker room comparisons!) is difficult. Then there are the psychosocial changes. Your peer relations grow much more complicated, you […]

Read more

Pluck my life: Hair pulling in eating disorders

I’ve used this blog to confess to all sorts of bizarre behaviors related to my eating disorder, from laxatives to suicide attempts. Lest anyone reading this blog still be under the illusion that an ED is glamorous, let me remind you that it’s not. At all. But I haven’t really discussed one of the things […]

Read more

Getting off the scale: Non-weight severity markers in anorexia

One of the most common catchphrases in the eating disorder community is, “It’s Not About the Weight!” Although I’d love nothing more than to change this to “It’s About More Than Just Weight!,” the fact is that, in most cases, treatment for an eating disorder depends mostly on weight. If your BMI doesn’t fall below […]

Read more

More than you can chew: Binge eating, suicide, and minority girls

Full-syndrome eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder get the lion’s share of research money and media attention. But subthreshold disorders are often just as serious and affect more people. EDs in minority populations (where, in this case, “minority” means anything other than young, white females) also get much less attention. Again, the […]

Read more

Cuts both ways: Binge/purge and self-harming behaviors in adolescents

Besides the (obvious) binge/purge behaviors, one of the most common features of bulimia is self-harm. A recent study of adolescent ED outpatients found that, overall, around 40% of patients engaged in self-injuring behaviors (Peebles, Wilson, & Lock, 2011). When they broke the data down, the researchers found that approximately 60% of patients with BN self-harmed, […]

Read more

Are EDs really on the rise? No, 10% of teen girls DON’T have an ED

It’s a question I get a lot: how many people out there have eating disorders? I can take some reasonable guesses, but there’s not much in the way of good, population-wide prevalence studies. But new estimates of ED incidence (the number of new cases diagnosed in a particular population in a specific time period) and […]

Read more

Treating Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa–Finally, a bit of hope?

In March, I attended the London International Eating Disorders Conference. This past weekend, I finally organized the last of my papers from the conference (After the conference, I was on vacation and then at a journalism fellowship, so I wasn’t home to do any organizing, hence the long delay) and found some notes I took […]

Read more