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1.  Effectiveness of a web-based treatment program using intensive therapeutic support for female patients with bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorders not otherwise specified: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:310.
Background
Disordered eating behavior and body dissatisfaction affect a large proportion of the Dutch population and account for severe psychological, physical and social morbidity. Yet, the threshold for seeking professional care is still high. In the Netherlands, only 7.5% of patients with bulimia nervosa and 33% of patients with anorexia nervosa are treated within the mental health care system. Easily accessible and low-threshold interventions, therefore, are needed urgently. The internet has great potential to offer such interventions. The aim of this study is to determine whether a web-based treatment program for patients with eating disorders can improve eating disorder psychopathology among female patients with bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorders not otherwise specified.
Methods/design
This randomized controlled trial will compare the outcomes of an experimental treatment group to a waiting list control group. In the web-based treatment program, participants will communicate personally and asynchronously with their therapists exclusively via the internet. The first part of the program will focus on analyzing eating attitudes and behaviors. In the second part of the program participants will learn how to change their attitudes and behaviors. Participants assigned to the waiting list control group will receive no-reply email messages once every two weeks during the waiting period of 15 weeks, after which they can start the program. The primary outcome measure is an improvement in eating disorder psychopathology as determined by the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire. Secondary outcomes include improvements in body image, physical and mental health, body weight, self-esteem, quality of life, and social contacts. In addition, the participants’ motivation for treatment and their acceptability of the program and the therapeutic alliance will be measured. The study will follow the recommendations in the CONSORT statement relating to designing and reporting on RCTs.
Discussion
This study protocol presents the design of a RCT for evaluating the effectiveness of a web-based treatment program using intensive therapeutic support for female patients with bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorders not otherwise specified.
Trial registration
The protocol for this study is registered with the Netherlands Trial Registry NTR2415.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-310
PMCID: PMC3840645  PMID: 24238630
Eating disorders; Bulimia nervosa; Binge eating disorder; Eating disorders not otherwise specified; Randomized controlled trial; Web-based treatment program; e-health; Intensive therapeutic support; Asynchronous support
2.  Relationship between Affective Symptoms and Malnutrition Severity in Severe Anorexia Nervosa 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49380.
Background
Very few studies have investigated the relationship between malnutrition and psychological symptoms in Anorexia Nervosa (AN). They have used only body weight or body mass index (BMI) for the nutritional assessment and did not always report on medication, or if they did, it was not included in the analysis of results, and they did not include confounding factors such as duration of illness, AN subtype or age. The present study investigates this relationship using indicators other than BMI/weight, among which body composition and biological markers, also considering potential confounders related to depression and anxiety.
Methods
155 AN patients, (DSM-IV) were included consecutively upon admission to inpatient treatment. Depression, anxiety, obsessive behaviours and social functioning were measured using various scales. Nutritional status was measured using BMI, severity of weight loss, body composition, and albumin and prealbumin levels.
Results
No correlation was found between BMI at inclusion, fat-free mass index, fat mass index, and severity of weight loss and any of the psychometric scores. Age and medication are the only factors that affect the psychological scores. None of the psychological scores were explained by the nutritional indicators with the exception of albumin levels which was negatively linked to the LSAS fear score (p = 0.024; beta = −0.225). Only the use of antidepressants explained the variability in BDI scores (p = 0.029; beta = 0.228) and anxiolytic use explained the variability in HADs depression scores (p = 0.037; beta = 0.216).
Conclusion
The present study is a pioneer investigation of various nutritional markers in relation to psychological symptoms in severely malnourished AN patients. The clinical hypothesis that malnutrition partly causes depression and anxiety symptoms in AN in acute phase is not confirmed, and future studies are needed to back up our results.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049380
PMCID: PMC3504017  PMID: 23185320
3.  Complement C3 serum levels in anorexia nervosa: a potential biomarker for the severity of disease? 
Background
Anorexia nervosa carries the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Even the most critically ill anorexic patients may present with normal 'standard' laboratory values, underscoring the need for a new sensitive biomarker. The complement cascade, a major component of innate immunity, represents a driving force in the pathophysiology of multiple inflammatory disorders. The role of complement in anorexia nervosa remains poorly understood. The present study was designed to evaluate the role of complement C3 levels, the extent of complement activation and of complement hemolytic activity in serum, as potential new biomarkers for the severity of anorexia nervosa.
Patients and methods
This was a prospective cohort study on 14 patients with severe anorexia nervosa, as defined by a body mass index (BMI) <14 kg/m2. Serum samples were obtained in a biweekly manner until hospital discharge. A total of 17 healthy subjects with normal BMI values served as controls. The serum levels of complement C3, C3a, C5a, sC5b-9, and of the 50% hemolytic complement activity (CH50) were quantified and correlated with the BMIs of patients and control subjects.
Results
Serum C3 levels were significantly lower in patients with anorexia nervosa than in controls (median 3.7 (interquartile range (IQR) 2.5-4.9) vs 11.4 (IQR 8.9-13.7, P <0.001). In contrast, complement activation fragments and CH50 levels were not significantly different between the two groups. There was a strong correlation between index C3 levels and BMI (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.71, P <0.001).
Conclusions
Complement C3 serum levels may represent a sensitive new biomarker for monitoring the severity of disease in anorexia nervosa. The finding from this preliminary pilot study will require further investigation in future prospective large-scale multicenter trials.
doi:10.1186/1744-859X-10-16
PMCID: PMC3110119  PMID: 21542928
4.  The ANTOP study: focal psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and treatment-as-usual in outpatients with anorexia nervosa - a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2009;10:23.
Background
Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder leading to high morbidity and mortality as a result of both malnutrition and suicide. The seriousness of the disorder requires extensive knowledge of effective treatment options. However, evidence for treatment efficacy in this area is remarkably weak. A recent Cochrane review states that there is an urgent need for large, well-designed treatment studies for patients with anorexia nervosa. The aim of this particular multi-centre study is to evaluate the efficacy of two standardized outpatient treatments for patients with anorexia nervosa: focal psychodynamic (FPT) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Each therapeutic approach is compared to a "treatment-as-usual" control group.
Methods/Design
237 patients meeting eligibility criteria are randomly and evenly assigned to the three groups – two intervention groups (CBT and FPT) and one control group. The treatment period for each intervention group is 10 months, consisting of 40 sessions respectively. Body weight, eating disorder related symptoms, and variables of therapeutic alliance are measured during the course of treatment. Psychotherapy sessions are audiotaped for adherence monitoring. The treatment in the control group, both the dosage and type of therapy, is not regulated in the study protocol, but rather reflects the current practice of established outpatient care. The primary outcome measure is the body mass index (BMI) at the end of the treatment (10 months after randomization).
Discussion
The study design surmounts the disadvantages of previous studies in that it provides a randomized controlled design, a large sample size, adequate inclusion criteria, an adequate treatment protocol, and a clear separation of the treatment conditions in order to avoid contamination. Nevertheless, the study has to deal with difficulties specific to the psychopathology of anorexia nervosa. The treatment protocol allows for dealing with the typically occurring medical complications without dropping patients from the protocol. However, because patients are difficult to recruit and often ambivalent about treatment, a drop-out rate of 30% is assumed for sample size calculation. Due to the ethical problem of denying active treatment to patients with anorexia nervosa, the control group is defined as "treatment-as-usual".
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN72809357
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-10-23
PMCID: PMC2683809  PMID: 19389245
5.  Perception of transgenerational family relationships: Comparison of eating-disordered patients and their parents 
Background
Disturbances in various elements of transgenerational family functioning patterns are not uncommon in studies of eating disorders.
We examined the relationship between patients’ perception of autonomy and intimacy in their families of origin and that of their parents in their own families of origin.
Material/Methods
The sample consisted of 112 girls who had a diagnosis of an eating disoder and their parents; 54 of the girls were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa restrictive subtype, 22 as anorexia nervosa binge/purge subtype, and 36 were diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. We had 2 control groups: 1 group consisted of 36 girls diagnosed with a depressive episode, dysthymia, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood and the other group was 85 female students from schools in Cracow, Poland and their parents. We used the the Family of Origin Scale to assess perception of family relationships. Statistical analysis was performed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS 20.0.PL; Chicago, IL, USA).
Results
There was a significant association between daughters’ and fathers’ perceptions of autonomy in their families of origin in all groups. There was no significant association between daughters’ and mothers’ perceptions in all groups. The strongest correlation was between the non-clinical sample of girls and their fathers and for the bulimic group.
Conclusions
We did not detect any link indicating the specificity of transgenerational transmission of autonomy and intimacy in eating disorders. The results point to the importance of the father figure in studies of family systems, including the context of family transmission.
doi:10.12659/MSM.889432
PMCID: PMC3867474  PMID: 24309425
anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa; family; autonomy; intimacy
6.  A multi-centre cohort study of short term outcomes of hospital treatment for anorexia nervosa in the UK 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:287.
Background
Individual, family and service level characteristics and outcomes are described for adult and adolescent patients receiving specialist inpatient or day patient treatment for anorexia nervosa (AN). Potential predictors of treatment outcome are explored.
Method
Admission and discharge data were collected from patients admitted at 14 UK hospital treatment units for AN over a period of three years (adult units N = 12; adolescent N = 2) (patients N = 177).
Results
One hundred and seventy-seven patients with a severe and enduring illness with wide functional impairment took part in the study. Following inpatient care, physical improvement was moderate/good with a large increase in BMI, although most patients continued to have a clinical level of eating disorder symptoms at discharge. The potentially modifiable predictors of outcome included confidence to change, social functioning and carer expressed emotion and control.
Conclusions
Overall, the response to inpatient treatment was modest particularly in the group with a severe enduring form of illness. Adolescents had a better response. Although inpatient treatment produces an improvement in physical health there was less improvement in other eating disorder and mood symptoms. As predicted by the carer interpersonal maintenance model, carer behaviour may influence the response to inpatient care, as may improved social functioning and confidence to change.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-287
PMCID: PMC3871017  PMID: 24200194
Eating disorders; Anorexia Nervosa; Inpatients; Treatment response; Predictors; Treatment
7.  Body composition in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(2):324-329.
Study design
A controlled prospective cross-sectional case study.
Objective
To investigate body mass index (BMI) and corporal composition in girls with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) and compare them with a normal population matched by sex and age.
Summary and background data
There is controversy as to whether there are real anthropometric alterations in patients with AIS. Relative to the weight or the BMI, some studies find differences and other studies do not detect them. AIS and anorexia nervosa (AN) make their debut during adolescence and both may be associated with an alteration of their subjective physical perception. Some authors propose a link between AIS and AN supported both by an alteration of physical perception and lower BMI. No studies on body composition in AIS have been published.
Methods
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patient surgery candidates during 2008 were studied. Body composition was evaluated using the bioelectrical impedance analysis (Bodystat, Isle of Man, UK). A study population of more than 5,000 patients that was published by Kyle et al. (Nutrition 17:534–541, 2001) was chosen as a control (group 1). Another control group (group 2) of healthy volunteers matched by sex and age was selected among a school age and university population in Barcelona, Spain. A variance analysis was used to analyze differences between the mean values of the control group 1, the European control group, and the AIS patient surgery candidates (Epiinfo 6.2001). Comparisons between the AIS patients and control group 2 were performed with the T Student test of unpaired samples using the SPSS 15.0 (Statistical Package Social Science) software.
Results
Twenty-seven women with a mean age of 17.4 years. BMI was 18.9 kg/m2 (SD 1.7; 95 % CI 18.31–19.73). In the variance analysis, a significant difference between AIS and group 1 in BMI was observed (21.0 vs. 18.9, p = 0.000004); fat-free mass (FFM = 42.6 vs. 38.9, p = 0.0000009) and fat mass (FM = 15.6 vs. 13.7, p = 0.03). Significant differences in BMI (22.13 vs. 18.9, p = 0.001; 95 % CI difference 1.85–4.60), fat mass index (FMi = 7.17 vs. 4.97, p = 0.000; 95 % CI difference 1.36–3.05) and fat-free mass index (FFMi = 14.95 vs. 13.09, p = 0.001; 95 % CI difference 0.26–1.86) between AIS and group 2 were also seen.
Conclusion
The conclusion is that there is a real alteration of body composition in AIS. The BMI, FFMi and FMi are lower than in the general population in the series under study.
doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2465-y
PMCID: PMC3555626  PMID: 22886589
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Body mass index; Body composition
8.  Anorexia nervosa--diagnosis, aetiology, and treatment. 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1995;71(842):712-716.
The aetiology, assessment and treatment of anorexia nervosa are reviewed in the light of the classical accounts of Morton, Lasègue and Gull. The core symptoms are deliberate weight loss, disturbed body image and amenorrhoea, and complications may include cardiac failure, electrolyte disturbances, hypothermia and osteoporosis. Common clinical findings are described. Disturbed brain serotonin activity is implicated in the aetiology of anorexia nervosa, but there is little support for the use of pharmacological treatments. Psychological theories of aetiology are discussed with reference to Bruch, Crisp, Palazzoli and Minuchin: the common theme is the reaction of the patient and her family to the physical and social changes of puberty. Individual and/or family psychotherapy is seen as central to the treatment of anorexia nervosa, and the relevant clinical research is reviewed. The roles of general practitioners, general psychiatrists and eating disorder specialists are discussed in the light of recent consensus treatment guidelines.
Images
PMCID: PMC2398291  PMID: 8552532
9.  Subjective Motives for Requesting In-Patient Treatment in Female with Anorexia Nervosa: A Qualitative Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77757.
Background
Anorexia nervosa is a severe psychiatric disorder mainly affecting women. Its treatment is long and accepted with much difficulty, in particular in-patient treatment.
Aims
To describe the subjective motives of women with anorexia nervosa for requesting in-patient admission, from a qualitative analysis of application letters.
Methods
Participants were adult women (18 years and older) with anorexia nervosa who were admitted as in-patients in a referral hospital unit in France from January 2008 to December 2010. The application letters, prerequisites to admission, were studied by the interpretative phenomenological method of content analysis.
Results
63 letters have been analysed, allowing the identification of six themes related to requests for in-patient care: loss of control of behaviour, and of thoughts, mental exhaustion, isolation, inner struggle and fear of recovery.
Conclusions
Requests for in-patient admission were motivated by very personal, subjective experiences, unrelated to medical reasons for admission. These results may help improve pre-admission motivational work with individuals, by basing it on their subjective experience.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077757
PMCID: PMC3808348  PMID: 24204951
10.  Malnutrition and Hemodynamic Status in Adolescents Hospitalized for Anorexia Nervosa 
Objective
To determine the effects of malnutrition on hemodynamic status of adolescents hospitalized for anorexia nervosa.
Design
Longitudinal observational study.
Setting
Tertiary care pediatric hospital.
Patients
Thirty-eight adolescents with anorexia nervosa, aged 13 to 21 years, with a mean (SD) body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) of 15.9 (1.8).
Intervention
Subjects received standard care, including bed rest and graded nutritional therapy. A subsample of subjects (n = 19) returned 11 to 57 weeks following hospitalization for a second cardiac evaluation.
Main Outcome Measures
Results from a 15-lead electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, treadmill stress test, and spinal bone mineral density measurement.
Results
On admission, 26 subjects (68%) had sinus bradycardia. Bradycardia was less common in participants with a longer duration of illness (P = .04). Left ventricle mass was lower than predicted for age (Z score <−1.0) in 11 subjects (31%). Exercise tolerance was normal by all measures. Both heart rate and QT interval were predictors of spinal bone mineral density. In those who returned for follow-up, absolute measures of left ventricle mass did not change (P = .27). However, the corresponding Z scores declined over time (mean [SD] change, −0.9 [1.3]; P = .02).
Conclusions
In acutely malnourished adolescents with anorexia nervosa, few truly pathologic cardiac findings were identified. Sinus bradycardia was observed in most cases. Mild reductions in left ventricle mass and left ventricle function were seen both at baseline and at follow-up, suggesting early sparing of cardiac muscle in the face of moderate malnutrition as well as a relative delay of cardiac muscle restoration. The association of hemodynamic status with altered spinal bone mineral density emphasizes the range of systems affected by malnutrition in anorexia nervosa.
doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.138
PMCID: PMC3205985  PMID: 20679161
11.  Resting tachycardia, a warning sign in anorexia nervosa: case report 
Background
Among psychiatric disorders, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate. During an exacerbation of this illness, patients frequently present with nonspecific symptoms. Upon hospitalization, anorexia nervosa patients are often markedly bradycardic, which may be an adaptive response to progressive weight loss and negative energy balance. When anorexia nervosa patients manifest tachycardia, even heart rates in the 80–90 bpm range, a supervening acute illness should be suspected.
Case presentation
A 52-year old woman with longstanding anorexia nervosa was hospitalized due to progressive leg pain, weakness, and fatigue accompanied by marked weight loss. On physical examination she was cachectic but in no apparent distress. She had fine lanugo-type hair over her face and arms with an erythematous rash noted on her palms and left lower extremity. Her blood pressure was 96/50 mm Hg and resting heart rate was 106 bpm though she appeared euvolemic. Laboratory tests revealed anemia, mild leukocytosis, and hypoalbuminemia. She was initially treated with enteral feedings for an exacerbation of anorexia nervosa, but increasing leukocytosis without fever and worsening left leg pain prompted the diagnosis of an indolent left lower extremity cellulitis. With antibiotic therapy her heart rate decreased to 45 bpm despite minimal restoration of body weight.
Conclusions
Bradycardia is a characteristic feature of anorexia nervosa particularly with significant weight loss. When anorexia nervosa patients present with nonspecific symptoms, resting tachycardia should prompt a search for potentially life-threatening conditions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-4-10
PMCID: PMC503388  PMID: 15257758
anorexia nervosa; bradycardia; tachycardia; malnutrition
12.  Anorexia nervosa 
Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:1011.
Introduction
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low body mass index (BMI), fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and up to 0.7% of this age group may be affected. While most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, about 5% die of the condition, and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder. Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of bone fractures later in life.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review which aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments for anorexia nervosa? What are the effects of interventions to prevent or treat complications of anorexia nervosa? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to August 2007 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 40 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: anxiolytic drugs, cyproheptadine, inpatient/outpatient treatment setting, oestrogen treatment, psychotherapy, refeeding, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.
Key Points
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low BMI, fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and may affect up to 0.7% of this group.Anorexia nervosa is related to family, sociocultural, genetic, and other biological factors. Psychiatric and personality disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and perfectionism, are commonly found in people who have anorexia nervosa.Most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, but about 5% die from the condition and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder.Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of fractures later in life.
There is no strong research evidence that any treatments work well for anorexia nervosa. However, there is a gradual accumulation of evidence which suggests that early intervention is effective. Working with the family may also interrupt the development of a persistent form of the illness.
Evidence on the benefits of psychotherapy is unclear.
Refeeding is a necessary and effective component of treatment, but is not sufficient alone. Very limited evidence from a quasi-experimental study suggests that a lenient approach to refeeding is as effective and more acceptable compared with a more strict approach.Refeeding may be as effective in an outpatient setting as during hospital admission.Nasogastric feeding is rarely required and can lead to problems due to hypophosphataemia.Nutritional supplements, including zinc, have only limited evidence for their effectiveness, and additional evaluation of these measures are warranted.
Limited evidence from small RCTs has not shown significant weight gain from SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants, some of which may cause serious adverse effects. Tricyclic antidepressants may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and a prolonged QT interval in people who have anorexia nervosa. SSRIs have not been shown to be beneficial, but the evidence remains very limited; in the four RCTs we found, conclusions were limited due to small trial size and high withdrawal rates.
Anxiolytic drugs (mainly older generation antipsychotic drugs) may prolong the QT interval, increasing the risk of ventricular tachycardia, torsades de pointes, and sudden death. Atypical antipsychotics have been evaluated for their potential role in reducing agitation and anxiety related to refeeding, as well as for potentially increasing appetite. Weak observational evidence has suggested that they may decrease obsessiveness and agitation. However, we found no RCTs of sufficient quality on the effects of atypical antipsychotics, and further evidence from large, well-conducted RCTs is necessary to draw reliable conclusions. Some atypical antipsychotics do not appear to be associated with the same cardiac risks as older-generation antipsychotic drugs. However, further research needs to be done.
We found insufficient evidence assessing cyproheptadine for treating anorexia nervosa.
Oestrogen treatment has been hypothesized to reduce the negative effects on bone mineral density associated with anorexia nervosa. However, three small RCTs have failed to demonstrate significant changes in bone mineral density after treatment with oestrogen.
PMCID: PMC2907776  PMID: 19445758
13.  Anorexia nervosa 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1011.
Introduction
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low body mass index (BMI), fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and up to 0.7% of this age group may be affected. While most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, about 5% die of the condition, and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder. Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of bone fractures later in life.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review, and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of treatments in anorexia nervosa? What are the effects of interventions to prevent or treat complications of anorexia nervosa? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 40 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: atypical antipsychotic drugs, benzodiazepines, cyproheptadine, inpatient/outpatient treatment setting, oestrogen treatment (HRT or oral contraceptives), older-generation antipsychotic drugs, psychotherapy, refeeding, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.
Key Points
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a low body mass index (BMI), fear of gaining weight, denial of current low weight and its impact on health, and amenorrhoea. Estimated prevalence is highest in teenage girls, and the condition may affect up to 0.7% of this group.Anorexia nervosa is related to family, sociocultural, genetic, and other biological factors. Psychiatric and personality disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and perfectionism are commonly found in people who have anorexia nervosa.Most people with anorexia nervosa recover completely or partially, but about 5% die from the condition and 20% develop a chronic eating disorder.Young women with anorexia nervosa are at increased risk of fractures later in life.Population assessment indicates that risks to fertility may be overstated in those who reach a healthy BMI, but children born to mothers who have recovered from anorexia nervosa seem to have lower birth weights.
There is no strong RCT evidence that any treatments work well for anorexia nervosa. However, there is a gradual accumulation of evidence suggesting that early intervention is effective. Increasing evidence suggests that working with the family may also interrupt the development of a persistent form of the illness, when this work begins early in the disease.
Evidence on the benefits of psychotherapy is unclear.
Refeeding is a necessary and effective component of treatment, but is not sufficient alone. Very limited evidence from a quasi-experimental study suggests that a lenient approach to refeeding is as effective and more acceptable compared with a more strict approach.Refeeding may be as effective in an outpatient setting as during hospital admission.Nasogastric refeeding has been used to speed up weight gain in inpatient observational studies, although it is rarely studied in RCTs. Very limited RCT evidence suggests that adding nasogastric feeding to oral nutrition can increase weight gain and reduce relapse in the short term more than oral nutrition alone, but these gains are not maintained at 1 year post-discharge. Given ethical and medical concerns with tube feeding, this approach is encouraged with caution.Nutritional supplements, including zinc, have only limited evidence for their effectiveness, and additional evaluations of these measures are warranted.
We don't know whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is more effective in people with anorexia nervosa.
Limited evidence from small RCTs has not shown significant weight gain from SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants, some of which may cause serious adverse effects. Tricyclic antidepressants may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and a prolonged QT interval in people who have anorexia nervosa. SSRIs have not been shown to be beneficial, but the evidence remains very limited; in the 4 RCTs we found, conclusions were limited because of small trial size and high rates of withdrawal.
Older-generation antipsychotic drugs may prolong the QT interval, increasing the risk of ventricular tachycardia, torsades de pointes, and sudden death. Atypical antipsychotics have been evaluated for their potential role in reducing agitation and anxiety related to refeeding, as well as for potentially increasing appetite. Increasing observational data (case series) have suggested that they may decrease obsessiveness and agitation. However, further evidence from large, well-conducted RCTs is necessary to draw reliable conclusions. Newer atypical antipsychotics, in particular olanzapine, do not seem to be associated with the same cardiac risks as older-generation antipsychotic drugs, but the known association between olanzapine and weight gain may impact compliance in people with anorexia nervosa. However, further research needs to be done.
We found insufficient RCT evidence assessing benzodiazepines or cyproheptadine for treating anorexia nervosa.
Oestrogen treatment has been hypothesised to reduce the negative effects on bone mineral density associated with anorexia nervosa. However, three small RCTs have failed to demonstrate clinically relevant changes in bone mineral density after treatment with oestrogen either HRT or oral contraceptives), and these results are supported by 2-year longitudinal data, which found similar lack of improvement.
PMCID: PMC3275304  PMID: 21481284
14.  Catechol-O-methyltransferase genotype modifies executive functioning and prefrontal functional connectivity in women with anorexia nervosa 
Background
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by high levels of perseveration and inflexibility, which interfere with successful treatments. Dopamine (DA) signalling seems to play a key role in modulating the prefrontal cortex, since both DA deficiency and excess negatively influence the efficiency of cognitive functions. The present study explores the effect of a functional polymorphism (Val158Met) in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene on the set-shifting abilities and prefrontal functional connectivity of patients with anorexia nervosa.
Methods
All participants performed the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, and a subsample underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Results
We included 166 patients with DSM-IV lifetime anorexia nervosa and 140 healthy women in our study. Both underweight and weight-recovered patients with anorexia nervosa showed high levels of perseveration, but only in the underweight group did the Val158Met polymorphism affect cognitive performance, showing the U-shaped curve characteristic of increased DA signalling in the prefrontal cortex. Underweight patients with anorexia nervosa who are Met homozygotes had significantly higher levels of perseveration and increased prefrontal functional connectivity than underweight patients in the other genotype groups, indicating abnormal regional cortical processing.
Limitations
Although our data show that grey matter reduction in starving patients with anorexia nervosa did not explain our findings, the cross-sectional design of the present study did not allow us to distinguish between the effects of starvation and those of low estrogen levels.
Conclusion
Starvation affects DA release in the prefrontal cortex of patients with anorexia nervosa with different effects on executive functioning and prefrontal functional connectivity according to the COMT genotype. This observation has several therapeutic implications that need to be addressed by future studies.
doi:10.1503/jpn.120068
PMCID: PMC3692721  PMID: 23046831
15.  The impact of hyperactivity and leptin on recovery from anorexia nervosa 
Journal of Neural Transmission  2007;114(9):1233-1237.
Summary
In anorexia nervosa (AN), hyperactivity is observed in about 80% of patients and has been associated with low leptin levels in the acute stage of AN and in anorexia animal models. To further understand the importance of this correlation in AN, we investigated the relationship between hypoleptinaemia and hyperactivity in AN patients longitudinally and assessed their predictive value for recovery.
Body weight, activity levels, and serum leptin levels were assessed in adolescents and adult AN patient groups at the start and during treatment, up to a year. In the adolescent group, initial leptin and activity levels were correlated. This negative correlation changes over time into a positive correlation with physiological recovery. Treatment outcome in both groups could be predicted by initial BMI and leptin levels but not by activity levels. No major relationship of activity with the course of recovery was detected, suggesting that in contrast to the acute stage of the disease, leptin and activity levels during the recovery process are dissociated.
doi:10.1007/s00702-007-0740-6
PMCID: PMC2798977  PMID: 17530161
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; hyperactivity; leptin; recovery; eating disorders; physical activity
16.  Predictors of the resumption of menses in adolescent anorexia nervosa 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:308.
Background
The resumption of menses is an important indicator of recovery in anorexia nervosa (AN). Patients with early-onset AN are at particularly great risk of suffering from the long-term physical and psychological consequences of persistent gonadal dysfunction. However, the clinical variables that predict the recovery of menstrual function during weight gain in AN remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of several clinical parameters on the resumption of menses in first-onset adolescent AN in a large, well-characterized, homogenous sample that was followed-up for 12 months.
Methods
A total of 172 female adolescent patients with first-onset AN according to DSM-IV criteria were recruited for inclusion in a randomized, multi-center, German clinical trial. Menstrual status and clinical variables (i.e., premorbid body mass index (BMI), age at onset, duration of illness, duration of hospital treatment, achievement of target weight at discharge, and BMI) were assessed at the time of admission to or discharge from hospital treatment and at a 12-month follow-up. Based on German reference data, we calculated the percentage of expected body weight (%EBW), BMI percentile, and BMI standard deviation score (BMI-SDS) for all time points to investigate the relationship between different weight measurements and resumption of menses.
Results
Forty-seven percent of the patients spontaneously began menstruating during the follow-up period. %EBW at the 12-month follow-up was strongly correlated with the resumption of menses. The absence of menarche before admission, a higher premorbid BMI, discharge below target weight, and a longer duration of hospital treatment were the most relevant prognostic factors for continued amenorrhea.
Conclusions
The recovery of menstrual function in adolescent patients with AN should be a major treatment goal to prevent severe long-term physical and psychological sequelae. Patients with premenarchal onset of AN are at particular risk for protracted amenorrhea despite weight rehabilitation. Reaching and maintaining a target weight between the 15th and 20th BMI percentile is favorable for the resumption of menses within 12 months. Whether patients with a higher premorbid BMI may benefit from a higher target weight needs to be investigated in further studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-308
PMCID: PMC3832684  PMID: 24238469
Resumption of menses; Adolescence anorexia nervosa; Target weight; Menstrual recovery; Outcome; Body mass index; Menarche; Amenorrhea
17.  Impact of speed and magnitude of weight loss on the development of brain trophic changes in adolescents with anorexia nervosa: a case control study 
Background
Anorexia nervosa commonly arises during adolescence and is associated with more than one medical morbidity. Abnormalities in brain structure (defined as “pseudoatrophy”) are common in adolescents with anorexia nervosa; however, their correlations with endocrinological profiles and clinical parameters are still unclear. In particular, no study has described the impact of BMI (body mass index) variations (speed and magnitude of weight loss) on cerebral trophism changes.
Methods
Eleven adolescents with anorexia nervosa and 8 healthy controls underwent cerebral MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) examination to obtain global and partial volumes (gray matter, white matter and cerebrospinal fluid) and clinical evaluation. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare partial volumes and clinical variables between cases and controls. The Spearman non-parametric test was performed in order to explore correlations between the variables studied.
Results
The patients diagnosed with AN showed significantly increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volumes and decreased total gray (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes. The degree of weight loss (deltaBMI) correlated inversely with the GM volume; the increase of CSF compartment correlated directly with the rapidity of weight loss (DeltaBMI/disease duration).
Conclusions
This study suggests a correlation between cerebral alterations in AN and the speed and magnitude of weight loss, and outlines its importance for the therapeutic treatment.
doi:10.1186/1824-7288-39-14
PMCID: PMC3599113  PMID: 23418915
Adolescent; Anorexia nervosa; Brain; BMI
18.  Study of EEG sleep characteristics in patients with anorexia nervosa before and after restoration of matched population mean weight consequent on ingestion of a ‘normal’ diet 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1976;52(603):45-49.
This experimental study confirms that insomnia and especially early morning waking is associated with low body weight in anorexia nervosa. It extends the view that there is a relationship between reduced nutritional intake and consequent change in weight and sleep disturbance. This relationship was studied by comparison of certain sleep EEG parameters in a group of hospitalized anorexia nervosa patients before and after a regime of re-feeding to matched population mean weight on a ‘normal’ diet. At low body weights, the patients had less sleep and more restlessness, especially in the last 4 hr of the night. After weight gain, there was a significant increase in length of sleep and REM sleep. The implications of these results are discussed with particular reference to an association between various anabolic profiles and differing need for REM sleep.
PMCID: PMC2496229  PMID: 1257174
19.  Cognitive Flexibility and Clinical Severity in Eating Disorders 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20462.
Objectives
The aim of this study was to explore cognitive flexibility in a large dataset of people with Eating Disorders and Healthy Controls (HC) and to see how patient characteristics (body mass index [BMI] and length of illness) are related to this thinking style.
Methods
A dataset was constructed from our previous studies using a conceptual shift test - the Brixton Spatial Anticipation Test. 601 participants were included, 215 patients with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) (96 inpatients; 119 outpatients), 69 patients with Bulimia Nervosa (BN), 29 Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), 72 in long-term recovery from AN (Rec AN) and a comparison group of 216 HC.
Results
The AN and EDNOS groups had significantly more errors than the other groups on the Brixton Test. In comparison to the HC group, the effect size decrement was large for AN patients receiving inpatient treatment and moderate for AN outpatients.
Conclusions
These findings confirm that patients with AN have poor cognitive flexibility. Severity of illness measured by length of illness does not fully explain the lack of flexibility and supports the trait nature of inflexibility in people with AN.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020462
PMCID: PMC3115939  PMID: 21698277
20.  The Impact of Intranasal Oxytocin on Attention to Social Emotional Stimuli in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa: A Double Blind within-Subject Cross-over Experiment 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90721.
Background and aim
Social factors may be of importance causally and act as maintenance factors in patients with anorexia nervosa. Oxytocin is a neuromodulatory hormone involved in social emotional processing associated with attentional processes. This study aimed to examine the impact of oxytocin on attentional processes to social faces representing anger, disgust, and happiness in patients with anorexia nervosa.
Method
A double-blind, placebo-controlled within-subject crossover design was used. Intranasal oxytocin or placebo followed by a visual probe detection task with faces depicting anger, disgust, and happiness was administered to 64 female subjects: 31 patients with anorexia nervosa and 33 control students.
Results
Attentional bias to the disgust stimuli was observed in both groups under the placebo condition. The attentional bias to disgust was reduced under the oxytocin condition (a moderate effect in the patient group). Avoidance of angry faces was observed in the patient group under the placebo condition and vigilance was observed in the healthy comparison group; both of these information processing responses were moderated by oxytocin producing an increase in vigilance in the patients. Happy/smiling faces did not elicit an attentional response in controls or the patients under either the placebo or oxytocin conditions.
Conclusion
Oxytocin attenuated attentional vigilance to disgust in patients with anorexia nervosa and healthy controls. On the other hand, oxytocin changed the response to angry faces from avoidance to vigilance in patients but reduced vigilance to anger in healthy controls. We conclude that patients with anorexia nervosa appear to use different strategies/circuits to emotionally process anger from their healthy counterparts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090721
PMCID: PMC3946210  PMID: 24603863
21.  The MOSAIC study - comparison of the Maudsley Model of Treatment for Adults with Anorexia Nervosa (MANTRA) with Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) in outpatients with anorexia nervosa or eating disorder not otherwise specified, anorexia nervosa type: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:160.
Background
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a biologically based serious mental disorder with high levels of mortality and disability, physical and psychological morbidity and impaired quality of life. AN is one of the leading causes of disease burden in terms of years of life lost through death or disability in young women. Psychotherapeutic interventions are the treatment of choice for AN, but the results of psychotherapy depend critically on the stage of the illness. The treatment response in adults with a chronic form of the illness is poor and drop-out from treatment is high. Despite the seriousness of the disorder the evidence-base for psychological treatment of adults with AN is extremely limited and there is no leading treatment. There is therefore an urgent need to develop more effective treatments for adults with AN. The aim of the Maudsley Outpatient Study of Treatments for Anorexia Nervosa and Related Conditions (MOSAIC) is to evaluate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of two outpatient treatments for adults with AN, Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM) and the Maudsley Model of Treatment for Adults with Anorexia Nervosa (MANTRA).
Methods/Design
138 patients meeting the inclusion criteria are randomly assigned to one of the two treatment groups (MANTRA or SSCM). All participants receive 20 once-weekly individual therapy sessions (with 10 extra weekly sessions for those who are severely ill) and four follow-up sessions with monthly spacing thereafter. There is also optional access to a dietician and extra sessions involving a family member or a close other. Body weight, eating disorder- related symptoms, neurocognitive and psychosocial measures, and service use data are measured during the course of treatment and across a one year follow up period. The primary outcome measure is body mass index (BMI) taken at twelve months after randomization.
Discussion
This multi-center study provides a large sample size, broad inclusion criteria and a follow-up period. However, the study has to contend with difficulties directly related to running a large multi-center randomized controlled trial and the psychopathology of AN. These issues are discussed.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN67720902 - A Maudsley outpatient study of treatments for anorexia nervosa and related conditions.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-160
PMCID: PMC3679869  PMID: 23721562
Anorexia nervosa; Eating disorder not otherwise specified; Outpatient treatment; Randomized controlled trial; Cost effectiveness
22.  THE ENDOCRINOPATHIES OF ANOREXIA NERVOSA 
Endocrine Practice  2008;14(8):1055-1063.
Objective
To describe the hormonal adaptations and alterations in anorexia nervosa.
Methods
We performed a PubMed search of the English-language literature related to the pathophysiology of the endocrine disorders observed in anorexia nervosa, and we describe a case to illustrate these findings.
Results
Anorexia nervosa is a devastating disease with a variety of endocrine manifestations. The effects of starvation are extensive and negatively affect the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, gonads, and bones. Appetite is modulated by the neuroendocrine system, and characteristic patterns of leptin and ghrelin concentrations have been observed in anorexia nervosa. A thorough understanding of refeeding syndrome is imperative to nutrition rehabilitation in these patients to avoid devastating consequences. Although most endocrinopathies associated with anorexia nervosa reverse with recovery, short stature, osteoporosis, and infertility may be long-lasting complications. We describe a 20-year-old woman who presented with end-stage anorexia nervosa whose clinical course reflects the numerous complications caused by this disease.
Conclusions
The effects of severe malnutrition and subsequent refeeding are extensive in anorexia nervosa. Nutrition rehabilitation is the most appropriate treatment for these patients; however, it must be done cautiously.
PMCID: PMC3278909  PMID: 19095609
23.  Cardiac abnormalities in young women with anorexia nervosa. 
British Heart Journal  1994;71(3):287-292.
OBJECTIVE--To identify the characteristics of cardiac involvement in the self-induced starvation phase of anorexia nervosa. METHODS--Doppler echocardiographic indices of left ventricular geometry, function, and filling were examined in 21 white women (mean (SD) 22 (5) years) with anorexia nervosa according to the DSMIII (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria, 19 women (23 (2) years) of normal weight, and 22 constitutionally thin women (21 (4) years) with body mass index < 20. RESULTS--13 patients (62%) had abnormalities of mitral valve motion compared with one normal weight woman and two thin women (p < 0.001) v both control groups). Left ventricular chamber dimension and mass were significantly less in women with anorexia nervosa than in either the women of normal weight or the thin women, even after standardisation for body size or after controlling for blood pressure. There were no substantial changes in left ventricular shape. Midwall shortening as a percentage of the values predicted from end systolic stress was significantly lower in the starving patients than in women of normal weight: when endocardial shortening was used as the index this difference was overestimated. The cardiac index was also significantly reduced in anorexia nervosa because of a low stroke index and heart rate. The total peripheral resistance was significantly higher in starving patients than in both control groups. The left atrial dimension was significantly smaller in anorexia than in the women of normal weight and the thin women, independently of body size. The transmitral flow velocity E/A ratio was significantly higher in anorexia than in both the control groups because of the reduction of peak velocity A. When data from all three groups were pooled the flow velocity E/A ratio was inversely related to left atrial dimension (r = -0.43, p < 0.0001) and cardiac output (r = -0.64, p < 0.0001) independently of body size. CONCLUSIONS--Anorexia nervosa caused demonstrable abnormalities of mitral valve motion and reduced left ventricular mass and filling associated with systolic dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC483668  PMID: 8142200
24.  Weight gain and the sleeping electroencephalogram: study of 10 patients with anorexia nervosa. 
British Medical Journal  1975;4(5996):556-558.
The relation between reduced nutritional intake, with consequent weight loss, and sleep disturbance was studied by comparing certain sleep encephalogram patterns in a group of inpatients with anorexia nervosa before, during, and after a regimen of refeeding with a normal diet to a matched population mean weight. At low body weights patients had less sleep and more restlessness, especially in the last four hours of the night. During refeeding and weight gain slow-wave sleep initially increased and then tended to decrease during the final stage of restoration of weight back to matched population mean levels. With the overall weight gain, however, there was a significant increase in length of sleep and rapid eye movement sleep, the latter increasing especially during the later stages of weight gain. These results reaffirm that insomnia, and especially early morning waking, is associated with low body weight in anorexia nervosa, and their implications are discussed with particular reference to a hypothetical association between various anabolic profiles and the need for differing components of sleep.
PMCID: PMC1675923  PMID: 173448
25.  Measurement of Daily Activity in Restrictive Type Anorexia Nervosa 
Objective
The assessment of daily activity in patients with restrictive type anorexia nervosa is limited by an absence of accurate and precise technology. We wanted to test a daily activity detecting device named, the Physical Activity Monitoring System (PAMS).
Method
Women participants with restrictive type anorexia nervosa (n = 8, 36 ± 11 years, 17 ± 2 kg/m2) and healthy women participants (n = 8, 30 ± 11 years, 27 ± 7 kg/m2) were asked to lie, sit and stand motionless, and walk at 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 mph whilst wearing PAMS.
Results
For all restrictive type anorexia nervosa and healthy participants, body posture was correctly detected for all measurements (300/300). There was excellent correlation of an individual’s body acceleration with walking velocity and walking energy expenditure (r2> 0.99).
Conclusions
The PAMS technology could serve as a tool for lending insight into the pathophysiology of restrictive type anorexia nervosa; and potentially measuring compliance with activity recommendations for medical professionals treating individuals with restrictive type anorexia nervosa.
doi:10.1002/eat.20486
PMCID: PMC2705949  PMID: 18004719

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