October 31, 2013

The scariest neighborhood trick about treats

There's a lady in North Dakota who has appointed herself the health scold of her neighborhood and is handing letters instead of treats to children she deems too large for candy. Happy Halloween!

Here's the letter I suggest kids hand her:

Dear Neighbor Lady,

You are probably wondering why I am giving you this note instead of dancing around joyfully showing you my costume and shouting Trick or Treat like I am at everyone else's house. After all, the tradition of Trick or Treating has been around a while and is one of the last remaining shared neighborhood traditions. You've clearly been waiting with anticipation for this day.

You may feel left out or shamed by this letter, but it is for your own good. Your unhealthy attitude about my body and my parents is, in my opinion, more than moderately out of line.

Tomorrow I will be back for the following documents:

Your medical degree, giving you the right to diagnose other people's health
Your dietician's license, for prescribing "unhealthy eating habits"
Evidence of a beating heart

I'll pass on the candy, though. You might want to keep some sweetness for yourself!

Thank You,
A child

Wanking like a gibbon

I know, I'm naughty. But how often do I get to use a quote like "wanking like a gibbon" in a sentence?

For those of you who live on the internet as much as I do, enjoy this rebuke to the trolls:

The anonymity of the Internet is both wonderful and horrid, in turns. On balance: wonderful. But sometimes....

Oh, and if you are offended by this you may blame Charlotte. I would probably have edited out the saucy reference but she egged me on.

October 27, 2013

Sample Size is Everything: ADD THE UK to AN25K

Dr. Cynthia Bulik at UNC has written, with Stephanie Zerwas and Gerome Breen at Kings College London, the clearest and best explanation of why the eating disorder community can change medical history through supporting AN25K: SAMPLE SIZE.

Genetics Buzz: The reason that schizophrenia is out ahead of the pack is because of sample size. When it comes to genetic research, sample size is everything. 

Don't complain that the media has it wrong and the doctors don't understand and your brother-in-law says your daughter should "just eat" if you aren't going to DO something when you can. Join the worldwide effort to get enough samples to show Uncle Joe he's a dinosaur, allow doctors to get proper ED training, and let the media tell the REAL story: let's figure out the underlying genetics and mechanism of eating disorders.

ADD THE UK to AN25K: donate to Charlotte's Helix and get into the study in your country if available! (information on US and Australia studies on the site)

October 23, 2013

Third F.E.A.S.T. conference: register today!

I can't believe it is our third conference! Friends, registration is officially open. You asked for a more central location: F.E.A.S.T. listened. Dallas is a wonderful site with great airfares. The speaker's list is wonderful, and the content can't be beat. Best of all: meet other parents who truly get it and care about one another. Even if it is your first F.E.A.S.T. conference you will feel like it is a reunion. The community feeling is wonderful.

And, believe it or not, the price is not going up -- same as last year but with a really special couple's rate.

See you in Dallas!

It is always better to fight an enemy you can name

"It is always better to fight an enemy you can name." 

We need to name eating disorders. What are they? How much of the cause is inherited? How much is epigenetic? What role do diet, experience, and other environmental influences have?

Are eating disorders a spectrum disorder or many different disorders with different causes?

We need to know. We also need to make it happen: science isn't going to just appear because it "should." It takes people who care about it to make sure it is funded, lobbied for, of high quality, and the information gets to the clinicians and families affected.

Often, it takes personally motivated and dogged advocacy. 

Here is a beautiful example of a family's work to save their own child and other people's children through genomics. Doctors and families using cutting edge technology NOW to fight disease. 

Charlotte's Helix is another example of families taking it upon themselves to get involved to save children, including our grandchildren.

October 19, 2013

You will remember later that you were an early supporter of genomics

CharlottesHelixWhy am I so excited about DNA research?

Genomics will not teach us everything we need to know about illness. It will, however, tell us a lot we don't know yet. We are in the early stages of understanding how our genes interact with environment and with other genes but it's a fair guess that disorders with active advocates are going to the front of the line.

If eating disorder advocates don't act now we will be left behind. If we don't get things funded and we don't make sure our families get into studies we won't be included.

What will we tell families 5 years ago about why we didn't act NOW, while we can?

In Australia and in the US our families can act now, at no cost to ourselves because of the generosity and far-sightedness of the Klarman Foundation. We all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to them, and to Dr. Cynthia Bulik for her AN25K challenge.

We need numbers, my friends. If we want research to happen we have to MAKE it happen. Do families care? Let's show it. Donate to Charlotte's Helix today. Any amount matters: really. Put eating disorders in the front of the line.

October 17, 2013

Diet soda and weight gain

I hate that the title of this blog post will get me more hits than most of the very fascinating things I write about... but then again: hello, Internet, nice to see you!

I want my readers to check out a post by my friend, Lori, the author of Drop It and Eat, about diet soda and looking at research critically.

Diet Soda Causes Weight Gain?

October 16, 2013

Charlotte's Helix in the New Statesman

A thought-provoking piece in the New Statesman yesterday discussing the Charlotte's Helix initiative. I really mean that: it provokes thought. Most of what gets published about EDs is polemic: my view vs. their view. There's a lot of positioning and not as much THINKING going on. I didn't agree with everything said here but this is the kind of talking we need to be doing.

Those who die of anorexia... by the blogger, Glosswitch.

October 15, 2013

T-shirt for Helix lovers

Want to wear your support for Charlotte's Helix?

One of Charlotte's Helix's supporters has initiated a t-shirt fundraiser: WEAR IT!

October 14, 2013

What is the role of the pediatrician in Family-Based Treatment for Eating Disorders?

I'm beyond pleased to share this new article, available for free online for you to print out for YOUR pediatrician, not least because I had the opportunity to help out a bit with it...

For many of us the family doctor or pediatrician is the first port of call when we suspect something is wrong. This is where it can go wrong (ours thought our daughter needed "more salt") or very, very right. This article gives the information to pediatricians in a form and with the authority they need it.

If your child's pediatrician is giving you funny looks when you mention Family-Based Treatment: here's the cure.

If your child's pediatrician is backing away slowly in concern when you say you want to take over re-feeding at home: here's reassurance.

If your pediatrician thinks your family's therapist is selling snake oil: here's verification.

The article may be for pediatricians but I can guarantee it will be widely used by parents to help work WITH their pediatricians. Copy 1 goes to our family doctor.

October 12, 2013

"Desperately anxious"

Thank you to Dr. Bryan Lask, for a very interesting radio interview about anorexia nervosa on Radio 4 earlier this month. Listen to this and think about why as a society we persist in believing that people can simply choose to stop feeling and thinking their eating disorder symptoms, and more than "someone with pneumonia chooses to be short of breath."

(start at minute marker 19.28)

October 7, 2013

Huffington Post Live interview on childhood "obesity"

I have to put the title in quotes here, as it is terminology I neither use nor accept, but I was invited to be on a live panel for an interview on Huffington Post Live today: "How To Talk To Children About Obesity."

My answer to that question is "Don't."

Model and live a healthy and positive life with your kids. Eat wholesome family meals most of the time. Be active together. Prioritize sleep. Nurture healthy body image based on enjoying one's body and what it does, not its appearance or size. Do not comment on or put value on anyone's body size or shape.

There is no need to talk about size, large or small. It doesn't do anything good, and it can do a lot of harm. Weight stigma is poison: harming those of all sizes just as racism is toxic to the victim and the perpetrator.

And here is a few more "don'ts."

Don't look at the weight of children and think you know anything about their health, their eating habits, their parents, their self-control, or their lifestyle. You do not.

Don't, moms and dads, think that your doctor has training in this area: they probably do not.

If you suspect an eating disorder go to a specialist. Go to a specialist with recent and ongoing training and active membership in eating disorder specific organizations. Just because someone calls themselves an eating disorder expert doesn't make it so.

Don't, parents, if your child is average weight, believe that this means you deserve a gold star for parenting. Your child's weight is largely a function of genetics. Love them, feed them well and calmly, do things together, make sure they have safe and loved lives. Let weight take care of itself. There is nothing recommended for "obesity" that should not be happening for all children.

Don't comment online with your head in your behind: it is not a good look for you.

October 4, 2013

Support the Helix by wearing the button!


Charlotte's Helix needs your support. Please join the Helix by adding a helix button to your sidebar with the code below. Then email the helix to be added to the Helix blogroll: info@charlotteshelix.net

We're crowdsourcing research, my friends. With the support and kindness of her friends, Charlotte's Helix is working to change medical history.

Believe in it? Join it!

Insert this code in my sidebar as "html" into a widget on your blog.

Need help figuring out how to add it? Email me at Laura@charlotteshelix.net

And who do we have to thank for this button project? Cate, for creating the button after Carrie put out the call. Americans working with Australians to work with our original countrymen, the British!