Women suffering from anorexia or bulimia portray themselves differently in
drawings than those who do not have eating disorders, according to Israeli
researchers, who suggest that this discovery can help professionals as a tool
for identifying and assessing these dangerous conditions. This has been revealed
in a new joint study from the University of Haifa, Soroka University Medical
Center in Beersheba and Achva Academic College in the south that has been
published in The Arts in Psychotherapy.
“The results of this study show
that women suffering or prone to developing eating disorders can be diagnosed
with a simple and non-intrusive self-figure drawing assessment,” said Prof.
Rachel Lev-Wiesel, head of the University of Haifa’s Graduate School of Creative
Art Therapies and a coauthor of the study. The research, conducted with help
from Dr. Jonathan Guez, Shimrit Valetsky, Dr. Diego Kruszewski Sztul and
Bat-Sheva Pener, examined 76 women.
Thirty-six of them had
been diagnosed as anorexic or bulimic; 20 had no eating disorders but were
overweight, and 20 had no eating disorders and were considered normal weight.
Each of the participants completed two standardized questionnaires for screening
eating disorders and were then asked to draw themselves (with no guidelines or
limitations set for the drawing).
The research team then evaluated the
drawings and found various differences between the groups in four
Women suffering from anorexia or bulimia tended to draw a larger
neck, a disconnected neck or none at all; the mouth was more emphasized in
drawings by women suffering from eating disorders, who also drew wider thighs
and and no feet or disconnected feet, compared to the other groups. The study
also revealed that those with the disorders tended to omit breasts from their
drawings, drew lessdefined body lines and smaller figures relative to the page
size. To assess the reliability of the drawing test, the more pronounced results
were compared with the two standardized eating disorders screening tests, and a
very strong correlation was found.
“Women suffering from eating disorders
usually tend to hide their condition, even from their therapists. They often
find it difficult to talk about their problem, so a non-verbal and non-intrusive
tool such as a simple request for a self-figure drawing can become an important
tool in creative art therapy,” explained Lev-Wiesel.TO THE RESCUE IN
Twenty-five Jews in Russia were recently trained in Moscow to establish a
local branch of the Israel-based ZAKA (rescue and recovery organization). They
have thus joined a global network of ZAKA-trained volunteers in major Jewish
communities in the US, Mexico, Argentina, Europe and the Far East who are
prepared to cope with any disaster or masscasualty incident.
intensive week-long training workshop was sponsored by Russia’s chief rabbi,
Berel Lazar and ZAKA international board chairman Michael Mirilashvili. Mati
Goldstein and Dovie Maisel, veteran codirectors of the ZAKA International Rescue
Unit, gave lectures on their experience with foreign disasters, including those
in Haiti, Mumbai, the Far Eastern tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
the topics were emergency medical response, mass casualty triage and management,
honoring the dead, and basic forensics in accordance with Jewish law. The Deputy
Director of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine in Israel
Nachman Ricardo and Chairman of the ZAKA Rabbinical committee rabbi
Ya’acov Roget also spoke to the participants. The course ended with a mass
casualty drill simulating a suicide attack during a Friday night service in a
At a festive graduation ceremony hosted by the Moscow Jewish
Community Center, the participants received certificates, the yellow ZAKA vest
and emergency medical equipment. Lazar noted that “unfortunately, terror today
is a global phenomenon, and therefore it is important to learn from ZAKA’s
extensive experience. These newlytrained ZAKA volunteers will now be able to
offer professional help at any disaster or terror attack, not just among the
Jewish community but for anyone in need of assistance, regardless of religion,
race or creed.” ZAKA chairman and founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said: “ZAKA, which
is recognized by the UN as an international volunteer humanitarian organization,
wishes to share its expertise with the global Jewish community so that we are
able to better prepare ourselves for any eventuality.”CHECK NEW HOMES
FOR OLD SMOKE
When nonsmokers move to a new home, they should check not only the
neighbors and whether there are wet walls, but also whether the previous
residents smoked. A new study published in the journal Tobacco Control found
that walls, ceilings, carpets and even dust accumulated toxic tobacco residues
that could harm new residents.
These poisonous substances are referred to
as “third-hand smoke,” after second-hand smoke, which is that involuntarily
inhaled by nonsmokers in the presence of smokers.
Study author and
Georg Matt at San Diego State University said smokers’
homes become reservoirs of tobacco smoke pollutants. When new nonsmoking tenants
come in contact with polluted surfaces and inhale suspended microscopic dust,
they are unknowingly exposed to tobacco smoke toxins.”
His team looked at
the homes of 50 nonsmokers and 100 smokers before and after they moved out and
measured nicotine levels on interior surfaces, in the air and on participants’
fingers. The team also collected urine samples from nonsmoking residents after
they moved into new homes and analyzed them for traces of cotinine, a marker for
tobacco smoke exposure.
Higher levels of tobacco-linked contamination in
dust and surfaces of homes formerly inhabited by smokers were found, compared to
those in nonsmoker homes. New residents of homes previously lived in by smokers
had higher nicotine levels on their fingers.
The researchers also suspect
that the toxic elements could endanger babies and toddlers who crawl on floors
and suck on items in the home.
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