Why Animal Therapy?

posted by Julie O'Toole on May 25, 2017 at 9:35am

8 AM: drop-off time at Kartini Clinic. It’s early, and patients and parents alike have a day of hard work ahead of them. But then... enter Ryla.

Family therapist Lisa Peacock says that one of her favorite moments of the day is seeing the mood in the waiting room transform when Ryla or Baxter, her two therapy dogs, run in to say good morning. That’s one of the simplest but most effective aspects of animal therapy: most people like animals, and having one around makes them happier.

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Selective Eating

posted by Julie O'Toole on May 11, 2017 at 10:19am

Selective eating (SE) is a condition present since earliest childhood where a child eats only a very narrow range of foods and refuses all others and yet where his or her linear growth is normal. Such children are not amenable to persuasion; neither bribes, punishments, “gold stars” nor being left at the table “until they finish their food” helps in the slightest. Parents of selective eaters report regularly having tried all these things and more -- often to appease grandparents or…

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The Role of Parents in Treatment

posted by Julie O'Toole on April 27, 2017 at 9:30am

This post was originally published on December 16, 2015. 

Possibly nothing has changed so much over the last ten years as the acceptance of parents’ role in the treatment of children and adolescents with eating disorders.

When I founded Kartini Clinic in 1998, “dysfunctional” parents were widely considered to cause eating disorders in general and anorexia nervosa in particular. Toxic and enmeshed mothers were commonly cited by therapists, doctors and lay people as the common…

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Processed Food the Foodie Way

posted by gwen@parachutestrategies.com on April 13, 2017 at 9:29am

Nearly every day I am anxiously asked whether or not our young patients can have rice “milk,” almond “milk,” soy “milk” or coconut “milk” instead of the whole milk that is on our menu. These inaptly named “milks” are about as related to milk as cheese whiz is to cheese, and although not harmful (and even delicious), should not be mistaken for the white beverage given to early mankind by dairy animals as a source of protein, fat, calcium and vitamins. They are perhaps more properly…

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posted by Julie O'Toole on March 30, 2017 at 9:49am

Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes (T1DM), according to the American Diabetes Association. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune process whereby the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are irreversibly destroyed and the ability to use food as energy is impaired. It can lead to growth stunting, intellectual impairment, blindness, vomiting, poor circulation and even limb amputation. It is not the kind of diabetes that you read about in the press…

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Traveling Kartini Style

posted by Julie O'Toole on March 14, 2017 at 9:40am

We are pleased to present a guest blog this week, written by a Kartini Clinic parent. We hope you enjoy her first-hand tips for traveling with a child on the Kartini Clinic meal plan. Many suggestions will be useful to parents who do not share our meal plan, but want general parent-to-parent tips about travelling with a child with an eating disorder.


“There’s no place like home.” Dorothy’s famous words from The Wizard of Oz could not ring more true for a patient managing an…

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This post was originally published March 31, 2016. 

In few fields have the twin forces of genetics and neurobiology worked as synergistically to profoundly change conceptualization and treatment as they have in the field of eating disorders. And this is particularly true for pediatric eating disorders, where the stakes are so high and the field so new.

The first description of anorexia nervosa in English by Richard Morton (pictured to the right) in 1689 was presented as part of a…

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Five Things Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Eating Disorders

posted by Julie O'Toole on February 28, 2017 at 3:00pm

1) Weight loss in children isn’t normal

Imagine you’re a parent of a bright, active 12 year old boy. He gets good grades and has lots of friends. He excels at sports. Then something changes; he begins to lose weight. At his last checkup his pediatrician registers a heart rate in the low 50s. He starts to withdraw, not doing many things he used to enjoy, with the exception of exercise. He now exercises with a new intensity.

His doctor tells you not to worry. “It’s just a stage”, she…

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Resting Your Athletes

posted by Julie O'Toole on February 2, 2017 at 9:43am

Oh God, it’s so hard. Hard for the kids. Hard for the parents. Hard for me.

Resting an injury is not an easy concept when you don't feel direct and immediate pain if you don’t. This makes it hard to rest an injury such as a heart attack, cancer, a surgery or… anorexia nervosa. And it’s harder for some people to rest than for others.

Case in point: my partner pediatrician Dr. Naghmeh Moshtael. I know she won’t mind me revealing that she has had to undergo chemotherapy several times…

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Can Complex Disorders be Extinguished?

posted by Julie O'Toole on January 19, 2017 at 9:48am

When I was a pediatric resident in Honolulu, Hawaii, I had the great and unusual opportunity to spend time with patients with a condition now largely unknown to most American doctors, except in text books: leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, as it is more properly termed.

Behind Diamond Head is a small hospital whose history is described as “...a community’s quick response to the serious threat of the bubonic plague... In an effort to halt the spread of the plague, houses were burned, and…

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