Low-weight eating disorder study

Do you have or think you may have a low-weight eating disorder?

If you are a low-weight female between the ages of 10 and 21 years old you may be eligible for a research study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate the relationship between hormones, brain activity and appetite. MRI is a non-invasive way to view brain activity without using X-rays.

This study includes one screening visit to confirm eligibility and three morning visits which will include a meal, questionnaires, blood draws and two MRI scans. Visits will be spread over 18 months and will occur at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA and at the Martinos Biomedical Imaging Center in Charlestown, MA.

Eligible participants will receive $550 for completing the study. Local transportation and parking costs will be reimbursed.

In order to be eligible, participants must not have taken oral contraceptives (birth control pills) or other medication containing hormones and must be able and willing to participate in MRI scans.

Please follow the link below to fill out our survey or contact Meghan Slattery, NP, via email at mslattery@partners.orgor by phone at (617) 643-0267 for more information.

Our research efforts have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Rubenstein Foundation, the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation, and generous patrons. To answer the questions of most pressing scientific interest, we have cultivated research collaborations with national and international leaders in the eating disorder field within the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Fiji.

Because a comprehensive diagnostic system is critical for etiological inquiry, clinical communication, case detection, and treatment planning, our classification research explores how eating disorder categories can be improved by refining specific diagnostic criteria or adding new diagnoses. Current work includes:

Our Field Trial of DSM-5 Feeding and Eating Disorders in three clinical settings: the Klarman Eating Disorders Center, the Mass General Weight Center, and the Mass General Pediatric Gastrointestinal Unit. The DSM-5 Feeding and Eating Disorders Work Group has used our findings, among others, to support modification of current criteria, as well as the addition of newly discovered syndromes to the diagnostic nomenclature, including purging disorder, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, and night eating syndrome.

Our Mass General Longitudinal Study maps the course and outcome of eating disorders, addressing a central question posed by many patients and their families: “What will I be like in 5, 10, or 25 years?” Since 1987, we followed 246 women with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, gathering interview data about eating attitudes and behaviors, mood disorders, substance use, health, work, and relationships. To date, the work has generated over 40 published articles about eating disorders, covering topics such as recovery and relapse, longitudinal diagnostic crossover, alcohol and substance use, depression, pregnancy, and medical complications. This study gives us the opportunity to investigate the long-term course and outcome of these illnesses, to understand mechanisms of recovery—predictors of both wellness and poDr. Elizabeth Lawsonor outcome, and to better describe the definition of full recovery.

Our Neuroendocrine Unit studies studies endeavor to test novel hormonal treatments for anorexia nervosa and the common comorbid symptoms of depression and anxiety. Other studies aim to understand and treat osteopenia and osteoporosis, which represent common sequelae of anorexia nervosa. In addition to efforts to treat anorexia nervosa and its complications, our collaborative work with the Neuroendocrine Unit focuses on genetic, endocrine, and neurobiological underpinnings of anorexia nervosa. This research involves a large-scale genetics project, and a neuroimaging study to examine the neurobiology of appetite-regulating hormones that may contribute to food restriction.

To learn more about current projects, please click here

To view recent EDCRP publications, please  click here

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