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Lessons from History: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment

August 18, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Brief description:  This webinar will provide a deep dive into the historical context of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.  This research advanced our understanding of physiological and psychological effects of malnutrition.  Ancel Keys’ starvation experiment is important because of its results, but also because of its methodology and the questions it raises about informed consent for research participants.


  • Participants will become familiar with Ancel Keys’ professional development and how it led to his interest in human and animal physiology in extreme circumstances.
  • Participants will understand the historical context of Ancel Keys’ Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
  • Participants will recognize how findings from the study parallel physical and psychological signs and symptoms seen in patients with restrictive eating disorders.

Highlights for Primary Care Clinicians

  • Semi-starvation produces emotional effects including sleep disturbance, poor concentration, and irritability.
  • Some of the behaviors seen in patients with restrictive eating disorders are likely driven by the physiology of starvation.
  • No ideal nutritional supplement exists for weight restoration after starvation. Food is food, and oral refeeding is preferable in most cases.


August 18, 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Contact Name
La-Shell Johnson
Contact Email/Phone