Breaking Science News: The Latest Genetic Study of Anorexia Nervosa

posted by Julie O'Toole on July 18, 2019 at 11:24am

Since the founding of Kartini Clinic in 1998 we have operated under the assumption (then almost unheard-of) that anorexia nervosa is a biologically based, heritable human illness of the brain. For that reason we have always taken detailed family histories, and later in the early 2000’s began contributing towards what became a giant genetic study, and now at last reported on by lead author Cindy Bulik. On July 15th the results of the study were published in Nature Genetics:…

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Guest BLOG:  F.E.A.S.T.  on Euthanasia and anorexia nervosa

posted by Julie O'Toole on July 10, 2019 at 12:22pm
Some of you may be shocked by the concept of euthanasia for people with eating disorders -- we at Kartini Clinic certainly are.  The concept of 'assisted dying' has recently been a hot topic, along with the ethics of 'forced feeding'.  Below is the position statement of the FEAST organization, a parent-driven support network for those who have loved ones suffering from eating disorders.  They are powerful and vocal in the eating disorder community and they have taken on this issue…
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The Importance of School in Holistic Recovery from an Eating Disorder

posted by Julie O'Toole on June 20, 2019 at 2:18pm

A peaceful, happy and healthy childhood with completion of developmental goals can be severely disrupted by illness, especially by chronic illness.  

The developmental tasks of childhood and adolescence are roughly:

  1. to develop a physical body that will carry one through life  
  2. to develop an autonomous sexual identity
  3. to develop the capacity for critical thinking
  4. to develop the ability to communicate with the written word (be literate)  
  5. to make friends and sustain…
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See Something, Say Something

posted by Morgan O'Toole-Smith on March 7, 2019 at 2:46pm

See something, say something is what the anti-terrorist watch tells us at the airport and in public spaces. When people take individual and collective responsibility for reporting whenever they see something potentially dangerous, something not right, it’s possible to prevent catastrophes.


An alert went out on the AED (Academy of Eating Disorders) listserv from Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD who had caught wind of a weight loss study recruiting subjects in Australia under the auspices…

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Food and Love

posted by Julie O'Toole on January 3, 2019 at 3:03pm

I was so struck by the discussion I heard on the radio that I had to pull over to write the words down: “someone who loves you is at home cooking for you.”

In the social avalanche of discussions online, on-air, on-screen about fat/weight/fitness (largely misplaced and often futile) I frequently hear blame placed for our increasing girth on families and individuals being very “food focused”. We are admonished not to equate food with love.

What? Food, its procurement, its…

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New to Treatment? Don’t Panic!

posted by Julie O'Toole on November 8, 2018 at 12:15pm

Your child has been diagnosed with an eating disorder by one of the doctors at Kartini Clinic. Whether this is a restricting disorder with fear of fat, a bingeing and purging disorder or what we call ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder), it matters little.  What matters is that the prospect of treatment is new and intimidating to you.

Before treatment was decided on, you may have struggled with typical and understandable ambivalent feelings:  are we over-reacting? Are…

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Finding Your Sass

posted by Julie O'Toole on August 29, 2018 at 10:51am

When I first thought about writing this blog I had patients with anorexia nervosa in mind. Patients with AN often struggle to find their voice, regardless of how smart, competent and encouraged they may be by others. On the other hand, our patients of high body weight for whom metabolic problems have lead to obesity, can have the same problem: shame and self-loathing has made them reluctant to use their voice, to fight back.

Unfortunately, “finding their voice”, a commonly stated…

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Kartini School: The Difference between Learning and Doing

posted by Julie O'Toole on August 7, 2018 at 12:45pm
Kartini School
[Ed. note: This week’s guest blog has been written by Mary Gunesch, a licensed Oregon teacher and administrator, who recently joined Kartini’s clinical team. Mary has been instrumental in securing official recognition of Kartini School by the Oregon Department of Education.]
What if we told you that your child—during his/her time at Kartini Clinic—will not only learn to eat in healthier ways but will also learn better ways to think about learning and school?
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20 Tips and Tricks for Re-Feeding Your Child

posted by Julie O'Toole on May 11, 2018 at 10:42am









Over the past 20 years (yes 20!) of re-feeding children with eating disorders, we at Kartini Clinic have learned some tips and tricks, which I thought I would pass along. Whether you are re-feeding a child at home or in a clinical setting, I hope these pointers can be helpful to you.

Remember: even though life stops until you eat and that without weight restoration you will get nothing, there are ways to help make the process less painful and more…

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A Parable for Staying the Course in Treatment

posted by Julie O'Toole on April 6, 2018 at 1:22pm

Have you ever heard of the ancient Chinese book called the I Ching, also known as The Book of Changes? If you were young during the 60’s and 70’s, I bet you have, otherwise, probably not. Sources of inspiration, when doing really complex and challenging things, such as re-feeding a sick child who resists and resents your efforts, can come from unexpected places. For me, this week, that source of reflection was the I-Ching, as I remembered a story in it about a fox.

Wikipedia says:…

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