Interconnections of EDS and Eating Disorders

There is a key component to the structure of the human body and that is connective tissue.

It is what bonds bones, muscles, ligaments, skin, internal systems, and everything else together. For those living with Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, referred to as EDS, their bodies produce little to no connective tissue, causing long term skin, muscular, and skeletal problems. More recently researchers have directed their focus on the links between EDS and gastrointestinal disorders. This is a significant step within the realm of scientific study of EDS as lack of connective tissue has observable impacts on the gastrointestinal system.

Dietary and digestive complications can have significant negative impacts on the health of those living with Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome. EDS patients have reported symptoms that go beyond normal discomfort, such as delayed gastric emptying, irritable bowel syndrome, and functional dyspepsia (Brockway, 2016). It is surmisable that those who live with EDS experience challenging relationships with their dietary intake due to resulting gastrointestinal problems. This can cause further harm on the human psyche when one already lives with a complicated, permanent connective tissue disorder.

With new insights like these, these genetically inherited conditions can provide suggestive correlations between biology and eating disorders.

Researchers have been able to locate parts of the brain that endure or are exposed to delayed or heightened stimulus. When looking directly at regions of the brain, those with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, have been found to be altered or abnormal. This directly suggests that some eating disorders can be caused from neurobiological wiring, as opposed to media or cultural influences. Because of these signs, dubbed “traits or scars” by Guido Frank, M.D., researchers and scientists can actually detect these abnormal, inflamed, or deteriorated regions of the brain and better assess potential treatment for those living with eating disorders (Weir, 2016).

Dispelling the myths of eating disorders being driven by cultural demands while at the same time giving credit to its neurobiological foundations can actually better help medical patients. The correlations I plan to address in my proposed paper will stem from this framework. It is well known that receiving a diagnosis of Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome can often take years, sometimes decades, delaying necessary medical management needed for these patients. As a result, EDS patients endure and sometimes suffer years of medical neglect and disbelief, worsening their symptoms even more. As clinical research has shown, this can be avoided if recognition, multidisciplinary approaches, nutritional and dietary regulation, and early detection are included in the treatment of gastrointestinal and EDS disorders (Aziz, Beckers, Farmer, Fikree, Keszthelyi, Masclee & Vork, 2016).

Important Info

This is an approved research proposal paper penned and submitted by Sabra Anne Snyder for PSY-1010 Intro to Psychology to Professor H. Stoddard at NVU-Lyndon. Any references, quotes, or any other extrapolation from the text above should be credited accordingly, as well as the original sources themselves which are found below.

Sources

Aziz, Q., Beckers, A. B., Farmer, A. D., Fikree, A., Keszthelyi, D., Masclee, A., & Vork, L. (2017). Gastrointestinal disorders in joint hypermobility syndrome/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome hypermobility type: a review for the gastroenterologist. Neurogastroenterology And Motility: The Official Journal Of The European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, 29(8). doi:10.1111/nmo.13013

Brockway, L. (2016, Jan 4). Gastrointestinal problems in hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and hypermobility spectrum disorders. Retrieved from: https://www.ehlers-danlos.org/information/gastrointestinal-problems-in-hypermobile-ehlers-danlos-syndrome-and-hypermobility-spectrum-disorders/

Weir, K. (2016). New insights on eating disorders. American Psychological Association, 47(4). Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/04/eating-disorders.aspx

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