And one more reason to make the diagnosis early

Professor Richard Crandall of Reed College, himself a renowned scientist, sent me an article he thought I might be interested in.  I have to say, after I read it I was dismayed on several levels.  Read it yourself and see.  The original source is the British Journal of Opthalmology.

The first level of my distress is that I had not known about this complication before.  While it is obvious that anorexia nervosa and attendant starvation is not good for anyone’s health, I was not aware that it could affect vision.  If the author’s findings are substantiated by others, it would seem prudent for patients to know about this and have their eyes examined.

My second level of distress was the statement: “anorexia nervosa affects up to 3% of affluent women.” (italics mine).  

Give me a break.  And poor women?  What of them?  How about those we see in the clinic all the time on Medicaid insurance? It’s not yet clear to me whether this piece of pseudo-epidemiology came to us courtesy of the authors of the original article or was slipped in the summary article, but I ask you!

My third level of distress was that the cohort of interest they examined were in their mid to late twenties and had had their illness for ten years.  Ten years! Could anything speak more eloquently of the need for early detection and treatment?

On a positive note however, the sidebar to this report featured an article from 2008 showing that when people were given information about the biological underpinnings to anorexia nervosa they were less likely to blame the sufferer for their illness.  All of you out there who know about such blaming, know exactly what is at stake here, and how important it has become to educate the public, including doctors, about the biology of this illness.  

To repeat Kartini Clinic’s motto since 1998:  parents don’t cause eating disorders and children do not choose to have them.  And I might add, neither do adults.