Previous month:
August 2005
Next month:
October 2005

Oxytocin, Eating and Satisfaction

A new study showed that women with the eating disorder anorexia had higher levels of antibodies that act against oxytocin, as well as vasopressin and alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone,  a hormone involved in appetite control. The report in WebMD is sketchy and a bit confusing.

In this study, researchers found elevated levels of antibodies against two more hormones found in the brain known as vasopressin and oxytocin in women with and without eating disorders. These hormones are primarily involved in water balance as well as social interactions.

Women with anorexia had significantly higher levels of antibodies against these three hormones than women with bulimia or healthy women.

However, some people without eating disorders also have high levels of the antibodies.

Serguei O. Fetissov, lead author of the study, is  a member of the department of neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, as is Kristin Uvnas Moberg, author of  The Oxytocin Factor and one of the earliest researchers to study oxytocin.

A Dad's View of Adoption

Adoption - A Dad's View is a very honest description of what it's like to parent two kids with reactive attachment disorder.

His blog details how it felt to go through the adoption process, how they handle discipline, when things go wrong. About his daughter, who's in the fourth grade, "Synthezoid"  writes,

Even when she is showing affection, she can be aggressive. Her hugs feel more like a tackle sometimes. We’ve tried to show her the difference in “good hugs” and “bad hugs.”

Synthezoid sounds like he may not be getting the information and support he needs. In his most recent post, he writes,

I felt like my life could be better, then I felt guilty about having those feelings. Then I wondered what the hell I was even doing at this frivolous gathering when I had responsibilities at home. Then I wished all those responsibilities would just vanish and I could just go find a quiet place to sleep.

I hate these children of mine now. I need a vacation.

I can't really imagine how hard it is. It sounds like he might be doing that "manly" thing of trying to stuff down his feelings. And it's interesting that he calls himself Synthezoid. His feelings definitely come through as real.

RAD Epidemic in Russian Adoptions?

The problem of adopted kids who have damaged attachment mechanisms hit the mainstream press today with this article in USA Today. An expert that reporter Steve Freiss talked to says up to 80 percent of such kids may have problems.

"We say there are three groups of children: about 20% whom we call the 'resilient rascals' because they come over and thrive right away, about 60% who we call 'wounded warriors' because they have serious problems but they get better after the first year or so, and another 20% who are challenged children who may require lifelong help," says [Victor Groza, a social work professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland].

While this article focuses on kids who come from Russian orphanages, what I've heard anecdotally is that this problem isn't limited to Russia or Eastern Europe; any child who has to spend time in an institution before finding a home may suffer.

This is a story about how deadly emotional harm gets passed from generation to generation.

Richard and Jennete Killpack of Springville, Utah, are on trial  for killing their four-year-old adopted daughter by pouring more than two liters of water down her throat. Cassandra died when her blood sodium level plummeted and her brain swelled.

Cassandra had been diagnosed with severe reactive attachment disorder, and the Killpacks said that they'd been advised to use this method to discipline her.

Drinking this much water -- as an adult -- has been advocated as a way to cleanse the system.  A couple women I work with drink 2.5 liters a day -- not at once.

What the Killpacks did sounds a lot like the torture we're hearing about in Iraq's Abu Graib prison.

After first tying Cassandra's arms behind her back, Jennete Killpack poured glass after glass of water down the girl's throat until she fell off a bar stool and hit her head, according to [the couple's seven-year-old daughter] Nicole.

This isn't the first time a kid with RAD has died during some kind of alternative therapy. It seems like you'd have to be crazy to do something like this, and the Killpacks may have been driven temporarily insane by the difficulties of dealing with a RAD child.

Meanwhile, seven-year-old Nicole watched it all. What kind of a parent will she be when she grows up?