In this health video learn how it looks like a dinner plate and could get anorexic patients eating again.
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Jennifer Matthews: Nancy and Laura are playing a dangerous game with anorexia. Laura is just 13 years old. Her weight slipped from 105 pounds to near 75 pounds in just one year. Laura: I was teased when I was younger and I've always been really self conscious and I just decided to do something about it. Jennifer Matthews: This is the beginning of her battle. For 50-year-old Nancy, this could be her last chance. Nancy: I just was in such a state of starvation, I knew I needed help. Jennifer Matthews: She's been anorexic for 35 years, once weighing 70 pounds. Nancy: I ended up in a locked psychiatric ward in Seattle. It was a nightmare," she said. Jennifer Matthews: Even though it's hard to face a full plate of food, both Nancy and Laura are taking a new approach to eating disorders. Jo Gallaugher: Someone who has anorexia has ... has lost the ability to recognize hunger, and they always feel full. Jennifer Matthews: This clinic doesn't rely on psychiatric drugs or talk therapy. Instead, patients learn how to feel hungry and full. The key to success is a computerized device called the "Mandometer." It's customized for each patient. Jo Gallaugher: It's measuring two things. It measures the rate at which a patient is eating and it measures the satiety level, so the fullness. Karla: This is Laura's Mandometer and it has 350 grams for her main meals. Jennifer Matthews: The Mandometer measures how much food is going on the plate, and how much and how fast food is being taken off. Wren: One of the points of the machine is to retrain their brain, and so we want them to understand, at the beginning of a meal, a normal person feels hungry. Jennifer Matthews: Patients also learn how to ease their anxiety after eating a meal. The thermostat is set at 108 degrees. The warmth relieves the stress anorexics feel after eating a meal. Only 10 percent of Mandometer patients experience a relapse five years after therapy, compared to 50-percent of patients on standard therapy. Nancy: They were all given me the opportunity now to step out and make a life for myself. So I have a feeling, I have a real strong feeling that I am going to be healthy. Jennifer Matthews: this is Jennifer Matthews reporting.