F.E.A.S.T’s Executive Director, Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, was interviewed for a piece in Science Magazine that also featured leading scientists including two F.E.A.S.T. Advisors: Dr. Cynthia Bulik and Dr. Walter Kaye.
“Most families are so burned out, crushed, guilty, that they don’t want to come forward,” she says. “There are still these myths out there—that these are chosen illnesses and parents somehow failed to prevent, or caused, or exacerbated the problem.” (Lyster-Mensh)
“The idea that patients use willpower to override hunger “never rang true,” she says. “My patients have said for years that … when they starve, they feel better.” She began to consider another possibility: What if their biology is driving them to eschew food?” (Bulik)
“They could identify being hungry,” Kaye says, but their brains couldn’t convert that into a desire to eat. The patients also experienced heightened anxiety and inhibition, along with diminished reward signaling in their brains. That effect may further impair their drive to eat. Kaye suggests people with anorexia “miscode food as risky rather than rewarding.” (Kaye)