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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology


Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 7pm-9pm
Rebecca Cooper, Author/Founder, Rebecca's House Eating Disorder Treatment Programs
“Current Eating Disorder Technological Research and Treatment Implications”
West Los Angeles Graduate Campus - 2nd Floor, Room 203

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Rebecca Cooper - Pepperdine GSEPEating disorders, diabetes and obesity have become an international epidemic. The reasons are many, but there is a plethora of new scientific research that is helping us to understand this phenomenon.

Scientific studies show that the cyclical binge eating and restricting (i.e. dieting) can alter the opioid receptors in the brain. Dieting sets people up to disconnect from their appetite, create unhealthy eating behaviors and changes brain chemistry. 35% of normal dieters progress into eating disorders, obesity, and disordered eating.

Genetic research has identified the gene responsible for the number of dopamine receptors. For people with a deficiency in the amount of dopamine receptors, different types of foods are used to compensate for this deficiency and become addictive. This can make any type of recovery challenging because most are unaware of the underlying food addiction.

Using functional MRI, we now know that some foods affect the dopamine pathways in the brain. It has been shown that these foods exhibit the same activity in the reward system of the brain as alcohol or drugs (Avena, Rada, & Hoebel, 2008). New technological research is expanding this concept. Alcoholics are most susceptible to sugar addiction because alcohol is assimilated in the body as sugar. Some research findings go so far as to say "sugar is a gateway drug." Another study shows that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine for some people.

The presentation will highlight current research, statistics, assessment tools, brain imaging charts and case studies showing the different reasons for the disconnection from appetite and self. Methods to reestablish a sense of a healthy self and recovery from eating disorders will also be presented.

Rebecca Cooper is an international speaker whose mission is to create awareness of disordered eating in all forms. She regularly appears on television, webcasts, professional conferences and radio. Ms. Cooper created the first transitional living residence for eating disorders, in addition to Rebecca's House Eating Disorder Treatment Programs in Orange County, CA. She is a licensed therapist and certified eating disorder specialist and iaedp approved supervisor. She authored the Diets Don't Work® book, CDs, DVDs, Eating Disorder Workbooks, and numerous published articles. Her eating disorder program is used throughout the country at treatment centers and by therapists.