Stuck in a Rut: Anorexia Nervosa’s Stubborn Grip

I had a wonderful experience last night giving the Brain Insight Lecture on the neurobiology of anorexia nervosa, thanks to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Zuckerman Institute.

These organizations have partnered to take on the wonderful mission of teaching about science. With this lecture series, they provide a platform for scientists to bring their knowledge to the community. While I had been informed about the event by the staff, I was nonetheless surprised by what an engaging experience it was.

I spend my work life in the company of clinicians and researchers – as well as patients and their families – and am therefore accustomed to presenting information to a concerned crowd. And yet, I am well aware that myths about eating disorders abound. It was, therefore, a special opportunity to be able to reach out to this much wider audience.

The Zuckerman Institute has taken the additional step of making the video of the talk freely available. In the video below, I describe our research on the neurobiology that underlies anorexia nervosa. And, at the end of the talk, you can hear the wonderful questions from the audience. The audience was filled with very thoughtful individuals, and all the questions were appreciated – but the very best part was the participation by high school students. The Teacher-Scholar program, also sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation at the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, works with middle school and high school teachers to provide lessons in neuroscience for their students. These students not only came out on a Wednesday night to listen to a scientist – they also joined the rest of the crowd in going up to the microphone to get their questions answered. At a time when public trust in science in eroding, it is a real pleasure to see the involvement of the next generation. I look forward to all their future research!




Photo credit (cover): Creative Commons by Flickr (bigbrand)

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