Eating Disorders

//Eating Disorders
9 07, 2018

Autoimmune Illness, Infections, and Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa | Zerwas | $39,981

Autoimmune Illness, Infections, and Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa Award: $39,981 Despite its prevalence and high mortality, norexia nervosa treatment is a poorly studied condition, with no effective treatments and no medication targeting the core biology of the illness; the recovery process takes, on average, seven years. Dr. Zerwas proposed to study whether the combination of autoimmune illness and repeated infection exposure will work together to increase risk for anorexia. Her goal is to improve both prevention and early detection of anorexia by understanding how genetic predispositions and medical history interact to increase risk for the disorder. Stephanie Zerwas, Ph.D. Need/Problem: We don’t know enough about why some people develop anorexia nervosa and others do not. Our recent studies have suggested that autoimmune illness may increase risk for anorexia nervosa. This study [...]

9 07, 2018

Predicting the Trajectory of Restrictive Eating in Childhood from Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa | Zerwas & Watson | $45,000

Predicting the Trajectory of Restrictive Eating in Childhood from Genetic Risk for Anorexia Nervosa Award: $45,000 Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, and is also extremely difficult to treat—treatment typically relies on supportive therapy, with no actual medications designed to target the core biology of the illness. “Picky eating” in childhood can be a warning that anorexia will develop later in adulthood, but little is known about the genetic reasons for this behavior. This project will comb the comprehensive, long-term Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study for genetic and/or environmental clues that point to restrictive eating behavior, with the ultimate goal of preventing this devastating illness in its earliest stages. Stephanie Zerwas, Ph.D. and Hunna Watson, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Restrictive or picky eating in childhood has been associated [...]

3 07, 2018

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) for Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SE-AN) | Bulik | $33,249

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) for Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SE-AN) Award: $33,249 Researchers will attempt to determine what relationship, if any, exists between the presence (or absence) of normal intestinal bacteria and symptoms of anorexia. Ten individuals suffering from Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa (SE-AN) will receive weekly doses of either a prepared fecal microbiota mixture or a placebo, and the results measured over time. If a correlation exists, it may be possible to treat SE-AN sufferers with regular infusions of helpful gut flora. Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Anorexia nervosa is a severe biologically based mental illness that has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Among those who survive is a subgroup of individuals with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa (SE-AN). Despite ongoing treatment, these individuals develop a chronic [...]

3 07, 2018

BEGIN (Binge Eating Genetics INitiative) | Bulik | $40,000

BEGIN (Binge Eating Genetics INitiative) Award: $40,000 BEGIN is the first study of its kind to combine a genome-wide association study with an investigation of microbes across five bodily sites, coupled with capture of behavioral features (binge eating, purging, exercise, sleep) and mood using the Recovery Record app adapted to Apple Watch technology. We will paint a rich biological and behavioral picture of binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa that will allow us to identify genetic and microbiota contributors to disorder risk and maintenance; identify genomic, microbiota, and behavioral predictors of outcome; and to build algorithms that predict behavioral events (e.g., impending binges or purges) to enable real-time intervention via wearable technology. Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D. Need/Problem: Binge-eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are serious and costly eating disorders. Our genetic studies on [...]