Could digital tools also help fight eating disorders? Head of the Loricorps research group at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, Johana Monthuy-Blanc is convinced of this. She specializes in working with patients who are experiencing their first episodes of eating disorders. “We want to catch them from the start, because only one in two people leaves hospitalization without returning,” she says. Its main weapon: digital health.
In 2018, Loricorps launched the Pocket Speaker application, which aims to provide tools for people suffering from an eating disorder or at risk of developing one. “This allowed us to propose a research-intervention program,” says the researcher. Added to this is the development of a virtual health tool, which is used to assess the perception of body image. “We project a body from the thinnest to the most rounded and we ask the person to designate the one who resembles them and the one they would like to resemble. » Thus, we precisely determine the underlying problem, which will influence the intervention method.
The researcher recently joined the Research Center of the University Mental Health Institute of Montreal, through which she hopes to refine the quality of her telehealth interventions. “The problem for people is not having access to applications,” she notes. It’s having access to evidence-based tools. » His work will also focus on ignored populations, such as the LGBTQ+ community and people who undergo repeated bariatric operations. “Our recent research shows that 48% of the Quebec population has mild to moderate eating behavior problems,” she notes.