Thursday, May 27, 2010

NEW ANAD Support group @ The Starting Point in Westmont, NJ!

ANAD of Southern New Jersey - Westmont

Organized by Tamie Beeman-Gangloff, MA
The Starting Point
215 Highland Avenue,Suite C
Westmont, NJ 08108
Phone: 602-710-0876
Fax: 856-854-0992

*Please call or email for time

Brain volume changes following weight gain in anorexics

Adult brain volume, which can be reduced by Anorexia Nervosa, can be regained, a team of American psychologists and neuroscientists have found.

The research, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, revealed that through specialist treatment patients with this eating disorder can reverse this symptom and regain grey matter volume.

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a serious psychiatric eating disorder of excessive weight loss caused by relentless dieting.

The starvation that results from this illness affects physiological systems throughout the body, including the brain, but until now it has been unclear if and when brain volume reduction can be reversed through specialist treatment.

"Anorexia Nervosa wreaks havoc on many different parts of the body, including the brain," said team leader Christina Roberto, MS, MPhil from Yale University. "In our study we measured brain volume deficits among underweight patients with the illness to evaluate if the decline is reversible thought short-term weight restoration."

The team, based at the Columbia University Center for Eating Disorders used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to take pictures of the brains of 32 adult female inpatients with Anorexia Nervosa and 21 healthy women without any psychiatric illnesses.

The scans indicated that when the women with Anorexia Nervosa were in a state of starvation they had less grey matter brain volume compared to the healthy women. Those who had the illness the longest had the greatest reductions in brain volume when underweight.

"The good news is that when women with Anorexia Nervosa received treatment at a specialized eating disorders inpatient unit at Columbia University which helped them gain to a normal weight, the deficits in brain volume began to reverse over the course of only several weeks of weight gain," said Roberto. "This suggests that the reductions in brain matter volume that results from starvation can be reversed with appropriate treatment aimed at weight restoration."

The team's results reveal that underweight adult patients with AN have reduced brain volumes that increase with short-term weight restoration, however important questions still remain surrounding the link between brain volume reduction and anorexia.

Monday, May 24, 2010

MSNBC: Anorexia and bulimia the most familiar, but not the most common

Anorexia and bulimia are probably the most familiar types of eating disorders, but they are not the most common. Some 50 to 60 percent of patients don't quite make the cut to be diagnosed with full-blown anorexia or bulimia, and are instead classified as having an eating disorder "not otherwise specified" (EDNOS).

But this group is so vast, and the cases within it so diverse, that many in the field believe it creates more problems than it does solutions in terms of treating patients and understanding the syndromes. Patients lumped into this unspecified group can also have misperceptions about their condition, thinking it is not as serious as anorexia or bulimia. But in fact, recent studies have found that there really isn't a medical difference between the three recognized types of eating disorders.

Now, physicians and psychiatrists are taking action to remedy the situation. They are proposing revisions to the psychiatric "bible," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, for the newest version (DSM-5) to be published in 2013. The suggested changes include relaxing the strict criteria for anorexia and bulimia somewhat, and giving other conditions, such as binge eating, their own official labels.

Read the full article here!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You're Invited! Renfrew Alumni Reunion

You're Invited...
2010 Renfrew Alumni Reunion

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Renfrew Center!
Back to Recovery: A Future Without ED

Saturday, June 12, 2010
8:30am - 3:00pm (PA)

*Please note that this is an ON-SITE event at The Renfrew Centers of Philadelphia.

Recharge your recovery, catch up with old friends, and make new connections at this year’s Renfrew Alumni Reunion at The Renfrew Centers of Philadelphia and Florida. Throughout the day, you will have the opportunity to participate in a number of events, which will stimulate new thinking and renew decisions about recovery and insights gained at The Renfrew Center. We hope you will join us for this special occasion! Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

To register for the Philadelphia Reunion, please visit:

Cost: FREE

The following workshops will be held at the Philadelphia Reunion:
Community Meeting
Voices of Recovery
The Journey of Recovery: Going Back to Basics
Drawing on the Past, Creating the Future (Art Therapy)
Life Skills Needed for a Life without ED
Psychodrama: A Road Map through Recovery
Reinvigorate Your Mind, Body & Spirit (Movement Group)
Thirty-Something & Beyond in Recovery
Friends and Family Supporting Recovery
Closing Ritual

Please note that the program is subject to change. Click here to view descriptions of the PA and FL workshops.

For more information about the Philadelphia Reunion, please contact Lindsey Massimiani at 1-877-367-3383, ext. 3050 or

2010 Philadelphia Reunion Schedule

Saturday, June 12, 2010

8:30am - 9:00am
Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00am - 9:30am

9:30am - 10:45am
Community Meetings

10:45am - 11:00am

11:00am - 12:15pm
Morning Workshop

12:15pm - 1:15pm

1:15pm - 2:30pm
Afternoon Workshop

2:30pm - 3:00pm
Closing Ritual

Monday, May 10, 2010

NYT: Fight Erupts Over Rules Issued for ‘Mental Health Parity’ Insurance Law

WASHINGTON — A huge fight has erupted over rules issued by the Obama administration to enforce a 2008 law that requires equal insurance coverage for the treatment of mental and physical illnesses.  The fight offers a taste of the coming battle over rules to remake the health care system under legislation pushed through Congress by President Obama.

Insurance companies and employer groups are lobbying the White House to delay and rework the rules on “mental health parity.” Insurers and many employers supported the 2008 law, but they say the rules go far beyond the intent of Congress and would cripple their cost-control techniques while raising out-of-pocket costs for some patients.

Advocates for patients generally support the rules, saying they will eliminate many forms of insurance discrimination against people with mental illness. The rules are also supported by the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and House Democrats, most notably Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island.

The goal of the law is to abolish discriminatory insurance practices frequently applied to coverage for the treatment of mental health disorders and substance abuse. Under the law, insurers cannot set higher co-payments and deductibles or stricter limits on mental health benefits than they set for the treatment of physical illnesses like cancer and diabetes. For decades, such disparities have been common.

Insurers and employers agree that the law prohibits them from setting numerical limits on hospital inpatient days and outpatient visits for mental health services if they do not impose such limits on other types of medical care.

But insurers say the Obama administration went overboard when it tried to regulate “nonquantitative treatment limits.” These include the techniques used by insurers to manage care, the criteria for selection of health care providers and the rates at which they are paid.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Aetna and other insurers have urged the federal government to drop this aspect of the rules. The purpose of the law was to ensure parity in benefits for patients, not “parity in provider reimbursement,” said Justine Handelman, executive director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

But Carol A. McDaid, a lobbyist for a coalition of mental health advocates, said, “Patients are not getting access to mental health care because many insurers are not paying enough to cover the cost of services.”

This may have three consequences for patients and their families, advocates say. Patients may be unable to find mental health experts in their health plan’s network of providers. If they go outside the network, they typically pay more. And if they cannot afford it, they may not receive treatment at all.

The American Psychiatric Association said that nonquantitative treatment limits, though less visible than limits on the number of doctor visits or hospital days, could be more insidious.

Dr. James H. Scully Jr., chief executive of the association, said some insurers had tried to “circumvent the law” by “imposing new requirements for prior authorization and the submission of treatment plans for mental health services where there were no comparable requirements on the medical-surgical side.”

Insurers strenuously object to one provision of the rules that requires them to maintain a single deductible for all medical and mental health services combined. This is a significant departure from the industry’s current practice of separate deductibles.

As a result of the change, insurers say, many mental health patients will face higher out-of-pocket costs because the combined deductible will almost surely be higher than the current one for mental health services alone.

But in a letter to the administration last week, leading House Democrats said Mr. Obama was right to prohibit separate deductibles. The law, they said, was adopted to end such inappropriate distinctions between medical and mental health care services.

A number of companies like Aetna, Magellan Health Services and ValueOptions specialize in managing mental health benefits.

In issuing the new rules, the Obama administration praised the work of such companies, saying they increased the use of mental health care while holding down costs.

But Pamela B. Greenberg, president of the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, which represents these companies, said the new rules would “hamstring” their ability to use the tools that have proved effective in managing mental health benefits.

In a suit over the rules, Magellan and other companies said the concept of nonquantitative limits was “boundless and ill defined” and would reach virtually every policy and procedure used to manage mental health benefits.

One premise of the law is that mental illnesses often have a biological basis and can be treated as effectively as many physical ailments. But insurers say it is impossible to use the same techniques in managing the treatment of colon cancer and schizophrenia, or heart failure and major depression.

Thursday, May 6, 2010