To examine childhood perfectionism in anorexia nervosa (AN) restricting (RAN), purging (PAN), and binge eating with or without purging (BAN) subtypes.
The EATATE, a retrospective assessment of childhood perfectionism, and the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI-2) were administered to 728 AN participants.
EATATE responses revealed General Childhood Perfectionism, 22.3% of 333 with RAN, 29.2% of 220 with PAN, and 24.8% of 116 with BAN; School Work Perfectionism, 31.2% with RAN, 30.4% with PAN, and 24.8% with BAN; Childhood Order and Symmetry, 18.7% with RAN, 21.7% with PAN, and 17.8% with BAN; and Global Childhood Rigidity, 42.6% with RAN, 48.3% with PAN and 48.1% with BAN. Perfectionism preceded the onset of AN in all subtypes. Significant associations between EDI-2 Drive for Thinness and Body Dissatisfaction were present with four EATATE subscales.
Global Childhood Rigidity was the predominate feature that preceded all AN subtypes. This may be a risk factor for AN.
Supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), this 12-site international collaboration seeks to identify genetic variants that affect risk for anorexia nervosa (AN).
Four hundred families will be ascertained with two or more individuals affected with AN. The assessment battery produces a rich set of phenotypes comprising eating disorder diagnoses and psychological and personality features known to be associated with vulnerability to eating disorders.
We report attributes of the first 200 families, comprising 200 probands and 232 affected relatives.
These results provide context for the genotyping of the first 200 families by the Center for Inherited Disease Research. We will analyze our first 200 families for linkage, complete recruitment of roughly 400 families, and then perform final linkage analyses on the complete cohort. DNA, genotypes, and phenotypes will form a national eating disorder repository maintained by NIMH and available to qualified investigators.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; bulimia nervosa; psychiatric disorders; genetics; linkage analysis; genomics
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (BN) are rare, but eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) are relatively common among female participants. Our objective was to evaluate whether BN and subtypes of EDNOS are predictive of developing adverse outcomes.
This study comprised a prospective analysis of 8594 female participants from the ongoing Growing Up Today Study. Questionnaires were sent annually from 1996 through 2001, then biennially through 2007 and 2008. Participants who were 9 to 15 years of age in 1996 and completed at least 2 consecutive questionnaires between 1996 and 2008 were included in the analyses. Participants were classified as having BN (≥weekly binge eating and purging), binge eating disorder (BED; ≥weekly binge eating, infrequent purging), purging disorder (PD; ≥weekly purging, infrequent binge eating), other EDNOS (binge eating and/or purging monthly), or nondisordered.
BN affected ∼1% of adolescent girls; 2% to 3% had PD and another 2% to 3% had BED. Girls with BED were almost twice as likely as their nondisordered peers to become overweight or obese (odds ratio [OR]: 1.9 [95% confidence interval: 1.0–3.5]) or develop high depressive symptoms (OR: 2.3 [95% confidence interval: 1.0–5.0]). Female participants with PD had a significantly increased risk of starting to use drugs (OR: 1.7) and starting to binge drink frequently (OR: 1.8).
PD and BED are common and predict a range of adverse outcomes. Primary care clinicians should be made aware of these disorders, which may be underrepresented in eating disorder clinic samples. Efforts to prevent eating disorders should focus on cases of subthreshold severity.
adolescents; eating disorders; epidemiology; obesity; substance use
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).
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.
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.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN67720902 - A Maudsley outpatient study of treatments for anorexia nervosa and related conditions.
Anorexia nervosa; Eating disorder not otherwise specified; Outpatient treatment; Randomized controlled trial; Cost effectiveness
Few studies have investigated the incidence of eating disorders (EDs). Important questions about changes in the incidence of diagnosed disorders in recent years, disorder and gender-specific onset and case detection remain unanswered. Understanding changes in incidence is important for public health, clinical practice and service provision. The aim of this study was to estimate the annual (age-specific, gender-specific and subtype-specific) incidence of diagnosed ED: anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN) and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) in primary care over a 10-year period in the UK (2000–2009); to examine the changes within the study period; and to describe peak age at diagnosis.
Primary care. Data were obtained from a primary care register, the General Practice Research Database, which contains anonymised records representing about 5% of the UK population.
All patients with a first-time diagnosis of AN, BN and EDNOS were identified.
Annual crude and age-standardised incidence rates were calculated.
A total of 9072 patients with a first-time diagnosis of an ED were identified. The age-standardised annual incidence rate of all diagnosed ED for ages 10–49 increased from 32.3 (95% CI 31.7 to 32.9) to 37.2 (95% CI 36.6 to 37.9) per 100 000 between 2000 and 2009. The incidence of AN and BN was stable; however, the incidence of EDNOS increased. The incidence of the diagnosed ED was highest for girls aged 15–19 and for boys aged 10–14.
The age-standardised incidence of ED increased in primary care between 2000 and 2009. New diagnoses of EDNOS increased, and EDNOS is the most common ED in primary care.
Epidemiology; Primary care
To further refine our understanding of impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in anorexia nervosa (AN) by isolating which behaviors—binge eating, purging, or both—are associated with these features.
We conducted regression analyses with binge eating, purging, and the interaction of binge eating with purging as individual predictors of scores for impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in two samples of women with AN (n = 1373).
Purging, but not binge eating, was associated with higher scores of impulsivity, obsessions and compulsions. Purging was also associated with worst eating rituals and with worst eating preoccupations.
Our results suggest that purging, compared with binge eating, may be a stronger correlate of impulsivity, obsessions, and compulsions in AN.
anorexia nervosa; impulsivity; compulsivity; binge eating; purging
Progress in personalised psychiatry is dependent on researchers having access to systematic and accurately acquired symptom data across clinical diagnoses. We have developed a structured psychiatric assessment tool, OPCRIT+, that is being introduced into the electronic medical records system of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust which can help to achieve this. In this report we examine the utility of the symptom data being collected with the tool. Cross-sectional mental state data from a mixed-diagnostic cohort of 876 inpatients was subjected to a principal components analysis (PCA). Six components, explaining 46% of the variance in recorded symptoms, were extracted. The components represented dimensions of mania, depression, positive symptoms, anxiety, negative symptoms and disorganization. As indicated by component scores, different clinical diagnoses demonstrated distinct symptom profiles characterized by wide-ranging levels of severity. When comparing the predictive value of symptoms against diagnosis for a variety of clinical outcome measures (e.g. ‘Overactive, aggressive behaviour’), symptoms proved superior in five instances (R2 range: 0.06–0.28) whereas diagnosis was best just once (R2∶0.25). This report demonstrates that symptom data being routinely gathered in an NHS trust, when documented on the appropriate tool, have considerable potential for onward use in a variety of clinical and research applications via representation as dimensions of psychopathology.
This exploratory study assessed whether maternal recall of childhood feeding and eating practices differed across anorexia nervosa (AN) subtypes. Participants were 325 women from the Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa study whose mothers completed a childhood feeding and eating questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to predict AN subtype from measures related to childhood eating: (a) infant feeding (breastfed, feeding schedule, age of solid food introduction), (b) childhood picky eating (picky eating before age one and between ages one and five), and (c) infant gastrointestinal problems (vomiting and colic). Results revealed no significant differences in retrospective maternal report of childhood feeding and eating practices among AN subtypes.
Anorexia Nervosa; Anorexia Nervosa Subtype; Feeding; Maternal Report; Infancy
Follow-up studies of eating disorders (EDs) suggest outcomes ranging from recovery to chronic illness or death, but predictors of outcome have not been consistently identified. We tested 5151 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in approximately 350 candidate genes for association with recovery from ED in 1878 women. Initial analyses focused on a strictly defined discovery cohort of women who were over age 25 years, carried a lifetime diagnosis of an ED, and for whom data were available regarding the presence (n=361 ongoing symptoms in the past year, ie, ‘ill') or absence (n=115 no symptoms in the past year, ie, ‘recovered') of ED symptoms. An intronic SNP (rs17536211) in GABRG1 showed the strongest statistical evidence of association (p=4.63 × 10−6, false discovery rate (FDR)=0.021, odds ratio (OR)=0.46). We replicated these findings in a more liberally defined cohort of women age 25 years or younger (n=464 ill, n=107 recovered; p=0.0336, OR=0.68; combined sample p=4.57 × 10−6, FDR=0.0049, OR=0.55). Enrichment analyses revealed that GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) SNPs were over-represented among SNPs associated at p<0.05 in both the discovery (Z=3.64, p=0.0003) and combined cohorts (Z=2.07, p=0.0388). In follow-up phenomic association analyses with a third independent cohort (n=154 ED cases, n=677 controls), rs17536211 was associated with trait anxiety (p=0.049), suggesting a possible mechanism through which this variant may influence ED outcome. These findings could provide new insights into the development of more effective interventions for the most treatment-resistant patients.
GABA; anorexia nervosa; recovery from eating disorders; genetic association; single nucleotide polymorphisms; eating/metabolic disorders; GABA; eating/metabolic disorders; neurogenetics; biological psychiatry; genetic association; anorexia nervosa; recovery from eating disorders; single-nucleotide polymorphisms; phenomic association
Comorbidity among eating disorders, traumatic events, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been reported in several studies. The main objectives of this study were to describe the nature of traumatic events experienced and to explore the relation between PTSD and anorexia nervosa (AN) in a sample of women.
Eight hundred twenty-four participants from the National Institutes of Health funded Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa Collaborative Study were assessed for eating disorders, PTSD, and personality characteristics.
From a final sample of 753 women with AN, 13.7% (n=103) met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. The sample mean age was 29.5 years (SD=11.1). In pairwise comparisons across AN subtypes, the odds of having a PTSD diagnosis were significantly lower in individuals with restricting AN (RAN) than individuals with purging AN without binge eating (PAN) (OR=0.49, 95% CI=0.30, 0.80). The majority of participants with PTSD reported the first traumatic event before the onset of AN (64.1%, n=66). The most common traumatic events reported by those with a PTSD diagnosis were sexual related traumas during childhood (40.8%) and during adulthood (35.0%).
AN and PTSD do co-occur and traumatic events tend to occur prior to the onset of AN. Clinically, these results underscore the importance of assessing trauma history and PTSD in individuals with AN and raise the question of whether specific modifications or augmentations to standard treatment for AN should be considered in a subgroup to address PTSD-related psychopathology.
PTSD; anorexia nervosa; trauma; prevalence; comorbid; epigenetic
This analysis is a follow-up to an earlier investigation of 182 genes selected as likely candidate genetic variations conferring susceptibility to anorexia nervosa (AN). As those initial case-control results revealed no statistically significant differences in single nucleotide polymorphisms, herein we investigate alternative phenotypes associated with AN. In 1762 females using regression analyses we examined: (1) lowest illness-related attained body mass index; (2) age at menarche; (3) drive for thinness; (4) body dissatisfaction; (5) trait anxiety; (6) concern over mistakes; and (7) the anticipatory worry and pessimism vs. uninhibited optimism subscale of the harm avoidance scale. After controlling for multiple comparisons, no statistically significant results emerged. Although results must be viewed in the context of limitations of statistical power, the approach illustrates a means of potentially identifying genetic variants conferring susceptibility to AN because less complex phenotypes associated with AN are more proximal to the genotype and may be influenced by fewer genes.
covariates; eating disorders; association studies; personality; genetic
Women with anorexia nervosa (AN) have aberrant cognitions about food and altered activity in prefrontal cortical and somatosensory regions to food images. However, differential effects on the brain when thinking about eating food between healthy women and those with AN is unknown.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) examined neural activation when 42 women thought about eating the food shown in images: 18 with AN (11 RAN, 7 BPAN) and 24 age-matched controls (HC).
Group contrasts between HC and AN revealed reduced activation in AN in the bilateral cerebellar vermis, and increased activation in the right visual cortex. Preliminary comparisons between AN subtypes and healthy controls suggest differences in cortical and limbic regions.
These preliminary data suggest that thinking about eating food shown in images increases visual and prefrontal cortical neural responses in females with AN, which may underlie cognitive biases towards food stimuli and ruminations about controlling food intake. Future studies are needed to explicitly test how thinking about eating activates restraint cognitions, specifically in those with restricting vs. binge-purging AN subtypes.
People with eating disorders (ED) frequently present with inflexible behaviours, including eating related issues which contribute to the maintenance of the illness. Small scale studies point to difficulties with cognitive set-shifting as a basis. Using larger scale studies will lend robustness to these data.
542 participants were included in the dataset as follows: Anorexia Nervosa (AN) n = 171; Bulimia Nervosa (BN) n = 82; Recovered AN n = 90; Healthy controls (HC): n = 199. All completed the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST), an assessment that integrates multiple measurement of several executive processes concerned with problem solving and cognitive flexibility. The AN and BN groups performed poorly in most domains of the WCST. Recovered AN participants showed a better performance than currently ill participants; however, the number of preservative errors was higher than for HC participants.
There is a growing interest in the diagnostic and treatment implications of cognitive flexibility in eating disorders. This large dataset supports previous smaller scale studies and a systematic review which indicate poor cognitive flexibility in people with ED.
Extensive population-based genome-wide association studies have identified an association between the FTO gene and BMI; however, the mechanism of action is still unknown. To determine whether FTO may influence weight regulation through psychological and behavioral factors, seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the FTO gene were genotyped in 1085 individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and 677 healthy weight controls from the international Price Foundation Genetic Studies of Eating Disorders. Each SNP was tested in association with eating disorder phenotypes and measures that have previously been associated with eating behavior pathology: trait anxiety, harm-avoidance, novelty seeking, impulsivity, obsessionality, compulsivity, and concern over mistakes. After appropriate correction for multiple comparisons, no significant associations between individual FTO gene SNPs and eating disorder phenotypes or related eating behavior pathology were identified in cases or controls. Thus, this study found no evidence that FTO gene variants associated with weight regulation in the general population are associated with eating disorder phenotypes in AN participants or matched controls.
Previous Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies of people with anorexia nervosa (AN) have shown differences in brain structure. This study aimed to provide preliminary extensions of this data by examining how different levels of appetitive restraint impact on brain volume.
Voxel based morphometry (VBM), corrected for total intracranial volume, age, BMI, years of education in 14 women with AN (8 RAN and 6 BPAN) and 21 women (HC) was performed. Correlations between brain volume and dietary restraint were done using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).
Increased right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and reduced right anterior insular cortex, bilateral parahippocampal gyrus, left fusiform gyrus, left cerebellum and right posterior cingulate volumes in AN compared to HC. RAN compared to BPAN had reduced left orbitofrontal cortex, right anterior insular cortex, bilateral parahippocampal gyrus and left cerebellum. Age negatively correlated with right DLPFC volume in HC but not in AN; dietary restraint and BMI predicted 57% of variance in right DLPFC volume in AN.
In AN, brain volume differences were found in appetitive, somatosensory and top-down control brain regions. Differences in regional GMV may be linked to levels of appetitive restraint, but whether they are state or trait is unclear. Nevertheless, these discrete brain volume differences provide candidate brain regions for further structural and functional study in people with eating disorders.
Previous fMRI studies show that women with eating disorders (ED) have differential neural activation to viewing food images. However, despite clinical differences in their responses to food, differential neural activation to thinking about eating food, between women with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) is not known.
We compare 50 women (8 with BN, 18 with AN and 24 age-matched healthy controls [HC]) while they view food images during functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
In response to food (vs non-food) images, women with BN showed greater neural activation in the visual cortex, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, right insular cortex and precentral gyrus, women with AN showed greater activation in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, cerebellum and right precuneus. HC women activated the cerebellum, right insular cortex, right medial temporal lobe and left caudate. Direct comparisons revealed that compared to HC, the BN group showed relative deactivation in the bilateral superior temporal gyrus/insula, and visual cortex, and compared to AN had relative deactivation in the parietal lobe and dorsal posterior cingulate cortex, but greater activation in the caudate, superior temporal gyrus, right insula and supplementary motor area.
Women with AN and BN activate top-down cognitive control in response to food images, yet women with BN have increased activation in reward and somatosensory regions, which might impinge on cognitive control over food consumption and binge eating.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To describe sexual functioning in women with eating disorders.
We assessed physical intimacy, libido, sexual anxiety, partner and sexual relationships in 242 women from the International Price Foundation Genetic Studies relative to normative data.
Intercourse (55.3%), having a partner (52.7%), decreased sexual desire (66.9%), and increased sexual anxiety (59.2%) were common. Women with restricting and purging anorexia nervosa had a higher prevalence of loss of libido than women with bulimia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified (75%, 74.6%, 39% and 45.4%, respectively). Absence of sexual relationships was associated with lower minimum lifetime body mass index (BMI) and earlier age of onset; loss of libido with lower lifetime BMI, higher interoceptive awareness and trait anxiety; and sexual anxiety with lower lifetime BMI, higher harm avoidance and ineffectiveness. Sexual dysfunction in eating disorders was higher than in the normative sample.
Sexual dysfunction is common across eating disorders subtypes. Low BMI is associated with loss of libido, sexual anxiety, and avoidance of sexual relationships.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; sexual behavior; sexual dysfunction
Although it is thought that eating disorders result from the interplay of personal and sociocultural factors, a comprehensive model of eating disorders remains to be established. The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which the childhood factors and deficit in visuoperceptual ability contribute to eating disorders.
A total of 76 participants - 22 women with anorexia nervosa (AN), 28 women with bulimia nervosa (BN), and 26 healthy women of comparable age, IQ, and years of education - were examined. Neuropsychological tasks were applied to measure the visuoperceptual deficits, viz. the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test and the group embedded figures test (GEFT). A questionnaire designed to obtain retrospective assessments of the childhood risk factors was administered to the participants.
The women with both AN and BN were less likely to report having supportive figures in their childhood and poor copy accuracy in the Rey-Osterrieth test. The women with AN were more likely to report premorbid anxiety, childhood emotional undereating and showed poor performances in the GEFT. In the final model, the factors independently contributing to the case status were less social support in childhood as a common factor for both AN and BN, and childhood emotional undereating and poor ability in the low-level visuospatial processing for AN.
Our results suggest the disturbance in the food-emotion relationship and the deficit in low-level visuospatial processing in people with AN. Lower social support appears to contribute to an increase in vulnerability to both AN and BN.
Childhood risk factors; Emotional eating; Visuospatial ability; Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa
Extremely low body mass index (BMI) values are associated with increased risk for death and poor long-term prognosis in individuals with AN. The present study explores childhood personality characteristics that could be associated with the ability to attain an extremely low BMI.
Participants were 326 women from the Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa (GAN) Study who completed the Structured Interview for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimic Syndromes and whose mother completed the Child Behavioral Check List and/or Revised Dimensions of Temperament Survey.
Children who were described as having greater fear or anxiety by their mothers attained lower BMIs during AN (p <0.02). Path analysis in the GAN and a validation sample, Price Foundation Anorexia Nervosa Trios Study, confirmed the relation between early childhood anxiety, caloric restriction, qualitative food item restriction, excessive exercise, and low BMI. Path analysis also confirmed a relation between childhood anxiety and caloric restriction, which mediated the relation between childhood anxiety and low BMI in the GAN sample only.
Fearful or anxious behavior as a child was associated with the attainment of low BMI in AN and childhood anxiety was associated with caloric restriction. Measures of anxiety and factors associated with anxiety-proneness in childhood may index children at risk for restrictive behaviors and extremely low BMIs in AN.
Anorexia Nervosa; Anxiety; Body Mass Index
We performed association studies with 5,151 SNPs that were judged as likely candidate genetic variations conferring susceptibility to anorexia nervosa (AN) based on location under reported linkage peaks, previous results in the literature (182 candidate genes), brain expression, biological plausibility, and estrogen responsivity. We employed a case–control design that tested each SNP individually as well as haplotypes derived from these SNPs in 1,085 case individuals with AN diagnoses and 677 control individuals. We also performed separate association analyses using three increasingly restrictive case definitions for AN: all individuals with any subtype of AN (All AN: n = 1,085); individuals with AN with no binge eating behavior (AN with No Binge Eating: n = 687); and individuals with the restricting subtype of AN (Restricting AN: n = 421). After accounting for multiple comparisons, there were no statistically significant associations for any individual SNP or haplotype block with any definition of illness. These results underscore the importance of large samples to yield appropriate power to detect genotypic differences in individuals with AN and also motivate complementary approaches involving Genome-Wide Association (GWA) studies, Copy Number Variation (CNV) analyses, sequencing-based rare variant discovery assays, and pathway-based analysis in order to make up for deficiencies in traditional candidate gene approaches to AN.
single nucleotide polymorphisms; probands; anorexia nervosa; bulimia nervosa
Set-shifting is impaired in people with anorexia nervosa (AN), but the underlying physiological and biochemical processes are unclear. Animal studies have established that glutamatergic pathways in the prefrontal cortex play an important role in set-shifting ability. However, it is not yet understood whether levels of serum glutamatergic amino acids are associated with set-shifting performance in humans. The aim of this study was to determine whether serum concentrations of amino acids related to glutamatergic neurotransmission (glutamine, glutamate, glycine, l-serine, d-serine) are associated with set-shifting ability in people with acute AN and those after recovery.
Serum concentrations of glutamatergic amino acids were measured in 27 women with current AN (AN group), 18 women recovered from AN (ANRec group) and 28 age-matched healthy controls (HC group). Set-shifting was measured using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the Trail Making Task (TMT). Dimensional measures of psychopathology were used, including the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDEQ), the Maudsley Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory (MOCI) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
Serum glutamine concentrations in the AN group (1,310.2 ± 265.6 μM, mean ± SD) were significantly higher (by approximately 20%) than those in the HC group (1,102.9 ± 152.7 μM, mean ± SD) (F(2, 70) = 6.3, P = 0.003, 95% CI 61.2 to 353.4). Concentrations of serum glutamine were positively associated with markers of the illness severity: a negative correlation was present between serum glutamine concentrations and body mass index (BMI) and lowest BMI and a positive correlation was found between duration of illness and EDEQ. The AN group showed significantly impaired set shifting in the WCST, both total errors, and perseverative errors. In the AN group, there were no correlations between serum glutamine concentrations and set shifting.
Serum concentrations of glutamine may be a biomarker of illness severity in people with AN. It does not appear to be directly associated with changes in executive function.
Families of people with eating disorders are often caught up in rule bound eating and safety behaviours that characterise the illness. The main aim of this study was to develop a valid and specific scale to measure family accommodation in the context of having a relative with an eating disorder.
A new scale, the Accommodation and Enabling Scale for Eating Disorders (AESED), was jointly generated by professionals and expert carers through qualitative analysis. In the first stage, this instrument was given to 201 family members of relatives diagnosed with an eating disorder, with additional self-report measures including the Experience of Caregiving Inventory (ECI), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Family Questionnaire (FQ). In the second stage, the sensitivity of the AESED to change was tested in a pre-and-post design study with a new sample of 116 caregivers, using a DVDs-distance skills training for caregivers.
A 33 item instrument was derived consisting of five factors: Avoidance and Modifying Routine, Reassurance Seeking, Meal Ritual, Control of Family and Turning a Blind Eye, which together explained 60.1% of the variance. This scale had good psychometric properties in terms of Cronbach's alpha which ranged from 0.77 to 0.92. Regarding the convergent validity, most of the AESED subscales was moderately supported by correlations with anxiety (HADS; r = 0.24 to 0.48) and depression levels (HADS; r = 0.17 to 0.47), negative caregiving (ECI; r = 0.18 to 0.45), and expressed emotion levels (FQ; r = 0.17 to 0.51). Pre-post intervention assessments showed that the overall AESED scale (d = 0.38) and the avoidance and modifying routine (d = 0.52), meal ritual (d = 0.27) and control of the family (d = 0.49) subscales were sensitive to change.
Internal consistency was good and initial validity of the scale was adequate, it was able to discriminate differences between clinical variables, however, further work is needed to confirm the factor structure and validity of the AESED. Nevertheless, this scale may be of value in exploring and helping to improve carers' coping strategies and in examining the effectiveness of family based interventions.
We investigated the relation between diet pill use and eating disorder subtype, purging and other compensatory behaviors, body mass index (BMI), tobacco and caffeine use, alcohol abuse or dependence, personality characteristics, and Axis I and Axis II disorders in 1,345 participants from the multisite Price Foundation Genetics Studies. Diet pill use was significantly less common in women with restricting type of AN than in women with other eating disorder subtypes. In addition, diet pill use was associated with the use of multiple weight control behaviors, higher BMI, higher novelty seeking, and the presence of anxiety disorders, alcohol abuse or dependence, and borderline personality disorder. Findings suggest that certain clinical and personality variables distinguish individuals with eating disorders who use diet pills from those who do not. In the eating disorder population, vigilant screening for diet pill use should be routine clinical practice.
Eating disorders; diet pills; weight control behaviors; novelty seeking