Recent research has found that eating disorders increased in 2020, like many other behavioral health disorders. Further research can help identify and treat these disorders. Here are some of the latest eating disorder studies from around the world.
Risk Factors of Common Eating Disorders
Experts remain unsure about the risk factors for eating disorders, partly because they often overlap with other behavioral health disorders. A team of researchers from Europe and Canada reviewed nine observational studies published prior to 2020. The studies focused on risk factors for anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
The review was published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry. The analysis found no strong evidence for any of the risk factors included. However, results suggested an association between childhood sexual abuse and bulimia nervosa. There was also an association between being bullied about one’s appearance and developing any eating disorder.
Kidney Dysfunction and Anorexia Nervosa
Many adolescents with AN experience changes in their kidney function. In a recent study, researchers analyzed glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in 148 adolescents with AN who were hospitalized for severe malnutrition. Results were published in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN.
More than three-quarters of the patients had Stage 1 kidney damage at admission (27 percent) or Stage 2 (59 percent). The entity of kidney damage correlated with body-mass index (BMI), but not the rapidity of weight loss. More severe kidney damage corresponded to major biochemical and hormonal changes. The researchers recommended that kidney functionality tests become part of routine care in patients with AN.
Involving the Family in Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adolescents
In a new study, researchers compared standard inpatient hospital care with an intervention known as family treatment apartment (FTA). With FTA, meal support is the parents’ responsibility, not the hospital staff’s. Researchers compared patients with AN who received either FTA or regular psychiatric inpatient care.
The FTA group experienced fewer readmissions due to weight loss within six months of discharge. They also scored lower on general psychiatric pathology and higher on quality of life compared to the standard group. However, there was no difference in eating disorder pathology between the groups more than 14 years after admission. The researchers noted in Frontiers in Psychiatry that FTA can help teach families and individuals better skills and provide a greater sense of security compared to standard inpatient treatment.
Eating Disorders May Affect the Brain Reward Response
New research published in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that the behaviors of an eating disorder can change the brain’s reward processing and food intake control circuitry. Researchers performed a functional brain imaging study on 197 women with eating disorders and 120 healthy controls. The researchers examined their brain reward responses to a sweet-taste task. The study also looked at the brain response’s association with circuits related to food intake control.
There were no significant associations found among healthy controls. Among the women with eating disorders, however, higher BMI and binge-eating behaviors were associated with lower response to the taste reward task. Eating disorder behaviors and excessive weight changes may affect the brain in ways that reinforce eating disorder behaviors.
Behavioral health providers know that each client has different lifestyles, needs, and definitions of success. Appropriate documentation ensures that you are making the best decisions for each client, at each stage of the treatment process.
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