Spring into action: check out what’s hot at BEDA and AED conferences in 2012

It’s that time of year again – time for me to blog about upcoming eating disorder conferences, that is. Every Spring we can look forward to gathering with our colleagues and friends to learn about and discuss the latest and coolest basic, clinical, and translational science related to improving the treatment and prevention of eating disorders. Keen on my list are the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) and Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) annual conferences. This year, BEDA will convene March 2-4 in historic Philadelphia, PA, and AED is holding its international conference May 3-5 in Austin, TX.

The BEDA conference will feature keynote speakers Rebecca Puhl, PhD, from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and Anita Johnston, PhD. Dr. Puhl will discuss the ramifications of weight stigma and Dr. Johnston will discuss finding meaning in struggles with food, weight, and body image through metaphors and storytelling. BEDA is a great venue for individuals struggling with an eating disorder, family members, and educators & activists to mingle and converse with researchers, clinicians, and healthcare practitioners, all of whom are striving to get to the heart of some of the most talked about weight, body, and eating disorder issues. Hot topics this year include:

  • What is BED (compulsive overeating/food addiction/emotional overeating)? Who gets it? How is it treated?
  • Weight stigma, discrimination, and size bullying
  • Clinician body size and impact on treatment
  • Impact of shame and trauma
  • Pursuing weight loss
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Exploring food addiction
  • Underserved/recognized populations
  • Neurochemistry
  • Impulse regulation
  • Social media tools
  • Medication options
  • Spirituality and recovery

AED kicks off this year’s conference with its opening Clinical Teaching Day on May 2, which is chocked full of interesting workshops covering topics such as DBT treatment for complex eating disorder patients, the role of the brain in eating disorders, and nutritional management and medical complications in eating disorders. On May 3, Dr. Scott Lilienfeld will give the keynote address on “The Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Lessons for Eating Disorder Researchers and Practitioners”, and other plenary sessions will focus on biological links between stress and eating disorders, integrating clinical practice and research, and the influence of language and labels on patient perspectives and outcomes.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the UNC Eating Disorder Program team’s presentations, which will cover a range of topics including: interventions for Latinas with eating disorders, the role of weight in relationships in overweight couples, body image and eating concerns in women over age 50, genetic and environmental risk factors in bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, weight trajectories in offspring of mothers with eating disorders, body mass index and binge:purge ratio in bulimia nervosa, and the relationship between therapeutic alliance and treatment outcome in adolescents with anorexia nervosa.

I encourage you to check out the BEDA (http://www.bedaonline.com/2012conference/) and AED (http://www.aedweb.org/AM/) websites for more information, and to consider attending one or both conferences. It’s not too late to register!

By: Dr. Kim Brownley