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Cornell College professor helping people with eating disorders

(KCRG)
Published: Jan. 7, 2017 at 6:25 PM CST
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Cornell College professor Dr. Melinda Green has helped people with eating disorders for years.

Lately, she’s been studying heart patterns of people with the disorder. She says eating disorders have a higher mortality rate than any other psychiatric disorder.

"So when I was first being trained, I thought schizophrenia or bipolar disorder would have the highest death rates,” she says. “I found out that’s not the case. It's the eating disorders. That happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes due to suicide, sometimes due to multi system organ failure, often times due to cardiac causes."

Green runs tests on people from the moment they check into the four week outpatient program, until the time they leave. She says when starvation starts to occur, and people are engaging in behaviors like vomiting, which can lead to chronic dehydration, that can make cardiac functions imbalanced.

She says, "Part of the mission was to see through this program, had their symptoms improve? Had their cardiac functions improve, and so we found that it did. So where we're at now is we are doing a serious of follow up studies to continue to improve the program.”

The program helps women ignore the media's perception of a perfect body, and to feel comfortable in their own skin. She partners with Tanager Place. They want to expand their services to offer online treatment, and to work with school districts. But they need help getting the money for it.

CEO of Tanager Place Okpara Rice says, "As most people know Iowa is not a well-resourced state. There's also not a lot of opportunities for this level of treatment, there are very few. So we are really trying to bring something to this community where we see a tremendous gap.”

To take part of one of Green’s studies, or to donate, email her at mgreen@cornellcollege.edu. Donations are also being taken one the Tanager Place website, http://www.tanagerplace.org/.

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