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Anorexic 7 year old - triggered by strep throat?

February 3rd, 2006

kennedy pieken
Kennedy Pieken is seven years old and has been anorexic since age four.

When asked why she wasn’t eating…”I don’t know. Because my brain was telling me not to eat.”

Kennedy’s mom, Jodi said, “The way she was going, I was afraid she was gonna die. I mean her hair was falling out. She looked awful.”

There has been increasing awareness of pediatric eating disorders among very young children, along with the possibility of genetically inherited biological predisposition toward having an eating disorder. Kennedy’s mother, Jodi, is herself a recovering anorexic.

Dr. Mae Sokol, director of a pediatric eating disorder treatment program in Omaha, Nebraska says, “You could be born with that biological predisposition, but it doesn’t mean that you’re going to develop this disorder”. She has been conducting research on infection-triggered anorexia nervosa.

In Kennedy’s case, her anorexic behavior started after a case of strep throat. Streptococcal infection is linked with autoimmune response, and may induce anorexia in patients who are already predisposed towards anorexia.

The CBS4 (Boston) web site has a video clip of their report on Kennedy and her treatment.

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