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Minnesota Starvation Study

This great Blog post reminded me of the potency of the Minnesota Starvation Study.

Learning of the Minnesota Starvation Study is a true a-ha moment for many in this weird, disorienting trek.

The 1945 Study was designed to determine the physiological and psychological effects of severe and prolonged dietary restriction and the effectiveness of dietary rehabilitation strategies.  Among the conclusions from the study was the confirmation that prolonged semi-starvation produces significant increases in:

  • depression
  • irritability
  • emotional distress
  • anxiety
The subjects also experienced extreme reactions including:
  • self-harm
  • preoccupation with food
  • social withdrawal and isolation
hmm, sound familiar?

Parents and Carers need to know about this study.

Having an explanation for the emotional, cognitive and behavioural symptoms allows parents and carers to understand the odd and frightening things they are seeing-  and we need to understand, we desperately need to understand.   Though we know that the physical effects are dire, it is worry about the non-physical (did we properly locked away the shapes?/ will they rage again tomorrow?/ will ever see them smile again?) that keeps us up at night.

In the Blog post referenced at the top, Emily Troscianko, also mines the MSS for what it can tell us about weight restoration (one word:  overshoot).

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