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"10 Words or Less" with food-addiction researcher Ashley Gearhardt

Welcome to another installment of "10 Words or Less," in which I ask brief questions of interesting people and request brief answers in return. Today's participant is Ashley Gearhardt, author of the Yale Food Addiction Scale who is now an assistant professor at the University of Michigan. I'll post an edited print version of the interview once it's completed, but for now, check out the video version. Run time is 25 minutes.

Loss-of-control eating in youths is powerful predictor

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Before Friday morning’s presentation at the BEDA national conference by Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, I would have assumed that binge eating in children is an excellent predictor of developing binge-eating disorder and other conditions.

fMRI brain scans can predict weight gain

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It is passe, if not cliche-ish, to say that MRI images of the brain show similar activity for some people shown food images compared with cocaine addicts shown coke images.

But a study at Dartmouth College — published April 18 in The Journal of Neuroscience — goes a step further, using images from the brain’s rewards center to predict who is likely to gain weight six months hence.

Not only that, but researchers used the same technique to predict sexual desire.

Relapse into smoking, relapse into food

In April 2009, I attended an invitation-only conference on obesity in Bainbridge Island, Wash., and it was one of the best strokes of good fortune I’ve yet encountered, not only for the knowledge that was shared but for the relationships I got to form.

Link to Commonwealth Club podcast

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I mentioned after my appearance at the Commonwealth Club of California a couple of weeks ago that a podcast would result, and that I would mention when it was available. Well, it is, which I learned when someone who'd listened to it tweeted to me about it.

My opinion is that anyone would be best served by listening to the whole recording. Please do not overlook that point when I say the following:

"Busting stereotypes, uncovering biology"

Welcome to another installment of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask interesting people for brief answers to brief questions. Today’s participant is a clinical psychologist and author who holds the nation’s first endowed professorship in eating disorders, at the University of North Carolina. Remember, please: No counting! “10 words” is about attitude, not addition, and besides, let’s see you do it. 

UNC researcher Cynthia Bulik

Name Cynthia Bulik
Born when, where 1960, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Residence Chapel Hill, NC
Family situation Married, three kids
A transformative event from your childhood “The death of my brother, Mark. I was 9. He was a premature baby who lived one day.”
When did you know you wanted to research ED? “My sophomore year in college. I was invited to do rounds with George Hsu, the attending physician for an eating disorders program in Pittsburgh.”
A surprising fact about you “I’m a [national-level] gold medalist ice dancer.”

The obesity solution: Less talk, more caring

So it turns out that when I wrote yesterday about the Jane Brody squib in the Times yesterday, referred there by my friend Ron-the-voracious-reader, I had actually been referred slightly elsewhere, to the mainbar of what Brody wrote. She was reporting the release of a series of reports in the British medical periodical The Lancet that address the growing obesity epidemic.

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