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Importance of treating malnutrition

Posted Mar 21 2009 3:06pm
Although malnutrition and eating disorders go hand-in-hand, EDs aren't the only conditions that are frequently accompanied by malnutrition. Cancer is, too, with up to 87% of cancer patients becoming malnourished at some point during treatment.

A new study looks at the relationship between malnutrition and the psychological distress experienced by cancer patients. The 213 cancer patients were taking part in a nutrition rehabilitation program, and were asked to rate their psychological distress on a scale of 0 (no distress) to 10 (high distress). Researchers found a significant correlation between malnutrition and distress: the higher the distress, the greater the malnutrition.

"Our data suggest that nutrition status may contribute to the level of distress in patients with cancer," Dr Amdouni says. "Evaluation of the nutrition status should be included in the evaluation of distress experienced by these patients."

The connection between malnutrition and psychological distress in cancer patients seems somewhat obvious, and lots of people are (hopefully) going to coax the cancer patient into eating and improving their nutritional status, which will then improve their psychological distress.

So why is the same thing so controverisal and seemingly unorthodox among ED patients? Why is it that people don't flat-out say: of course you're depressed and feel like crap. You're not eating properly! Instead, hours of therapy and thousands of dollars are spent trying to make you feel better in the hopes that you might eat. Of course, one meal isn't a cure. One meal won't make you feel better.

Brain tumor or brain disease, nutrition is important.
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