Presenter: Ralph Carson, LD, RD, PhD
Format: 1 hour video lecture
There has been increasing interest in the role of oxytocin in the development, maintenance and pathophysiology eating disorders. Oxytocin alters neural pathways that exert prosocial effects and modulates trust, fear, depression, anxiety, trauma, and neuroplasticity. MRIs show that when OXT levels are low in anorexia and will result in hypoactivation of brain regions involved in motivation. Furthermore, research supports the hormone reduces unconscious tendencies to focus on food, body shape and negative emotions. This course explores the potential of exogenous and endogenous oxytocin to improve the outcomes of eating disorder treatment.
At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:
- List five ways that oxytocin may be involved with the pathophysiology of anorexia nervosa
- Discuss how oxytocin influences neurological pathways and alters activation of key areas of the brain responsible for sustaining anorectic behavior
- Illustrate how emotional information from the face, voice and body language are assessed to indicate trustworthiness
- Explain how the various variations of the oxytocin gene influence temperament
- Identify over a dozen behaviors and techniques identified to naturally increase one’s oxytocin levels.
- Argue whether or not oxytocin crosses the blood brain barrier and therapeutically influences one’s behavior and mental state
- Describe three ways oxytocin influences appetite and body weight
- Report on how touch influences oxytocin and cortisol levels in the blood.
- Propose how intranasal oxytocin products may be harmful and counterproductive in the treatment of anorexia nervosa
About Ralph Carson, LD, RD, PhD
Dr. Carson has been involved in the clinical treatment of obesity, addictions, and eating disorders for over 40 years. His unique background in health science and medicine, coupled with nutrition and exercise has prepared him to integrate neuropsychobiological intervention and proven psychotherapeutic treatment. He is an active board member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP). He has authored several popular books on nutrition, lifestyle practices, good health and the brain: Harnessing the Healing Power of Fruits and the recently published The Brain Fix: What’s the Matter with Your Gray Matter? He is currently Vice President of Science and Innovation for the Eating Recovery Center’s CORE Program for weight management and binge-eating disorders in Denver, CO and consultant for the Pinegrove Behavioral Health and Addiction Center in Hattiesburg, MS.
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