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Pro-anorexia blogs may not be as harmful as we think, says study

Many of the reports about "pro-ana" blogs follow a very similar script.

Pro-ana -- or pro-anorexia -- websites are a place for young people, often teenaged girls, to gather online and find "thin-spiration."

They're places promoting the eating disorder anorexia.

And pro-ana blogs, are dangerous.

That's certainly the way the story's always been told. And it's why there have been moves to ban or censor them, and why earlier this yearFrance made it illegal for anyone to incite others to become dangerously thin.

But when it comes to the way we think of pro-ana blogs, new Canadian research says we may have the story all wrong.

  • Nicole Schott authored a study that suggests pro-ana blogs may not be as harmful as believed. She is a PhD student in Education at the University of Toronto.
  • Dr. Paul Garfinkel is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a staff psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and has developed programs for people with eating disorders at Toronto General.

This new research has caught the attention of Lauren Spring. She was treated for anorexia when she was a teenager. And now she's working to share Nicole Schott's research with a wider audience, by creating a play based on its findings.  Lauren Spring was in Toronto.