Current Studies

Eating Disorders, Nutrition and Brain Plasticity

We are conducting a research study to investigate how the brain is affected by nutrition in women who have trouble with their eating patterns or who have Anorexia Nervosa.

We are looking for females ages 18-45 who are underweight to participate in this study. Participation involves only 1 study visit which will include an MRI brain scan and completion of questionnaires.

Participants will receive $100 or 20 sessions of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders for their time and effort and participation is completely confidential.

The Effect of Nature and Nurture in Eating Disorders

We are conducting a study looking at the thinking style and brain characteristics of children of mothers who have ever had any problems or worries related to weight, eating, or eating disorders. We are looking for mothers who have ever had any problems or worries related to weight or eating, or who have had an eating disorder, and healthy mothers, with daughters between the ages of 8 and 15 years old.The study focuses on children, and mothers will only have minimal participation.

A child’s participation will include:

  • An fMRI Brain scan
  • Completion of some questionnaires
  • Computerized brain games
  • An IQ test

Participants will receive:

  • A report of the results of testing performance
  • Reimbursement of travel costs and a $100 voucher

Mirror Exposure and D-Cycloserine Randomized Controlled Trial

We are examining the added effect of a medication, d-cycloserine, which has been implicated in enhanced learning in exposure treatments for anxiety disorders—in mirror exposure for body image disturbance in individuals with eating disorders.

Half of the participants will randomly receive d-cycloserine orally and the other half will receive a placebo pill.

This study will involve 6 sessions with a therapist: baseline/psychiatric assessment, psychoeducational session, 4-week mirror exposure treatment and administration of placebo/study drug, and a 1 month follow up visit.

Compensation for participation will be $50

Mirror Exposure Randomized Controlled Trial for Binge Eating and Bulimia Nervosa

We are examining whether or not incorporating acceptance-based mirror exposure (A-MET) into standard treatment for eating disorders enhances treatment outcome.

We are looking for people aged 16-65 years old with eating disorders to participate in this study.

This study has a randomize-the-mediator design, in which participants undergo randomization at two different time-points. Participation will consist of the following:

  • Phase I: Randomization into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Enhanced (CBT-E) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- Guided Self-Help (CBT-GSH) for 10 weeks
  • Phase II: Randomization into A-MET or Guided Self-Help Treatment for Body Shape and Weight Concerns
  • 3- and 6-month follow ups

Flexible Thinking Group

We are conducting a research study evaluating whether a new type of group therapy, “The Flexible Thinking Group” is helpful to people with restrictive eating.

We are looking for young people, aged 13-21 years, who are diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa or ARFID or who are underweight with eating problems.

Participation with involve:

  • Attending weekly group therapy sessions for 6-8weeks
  • Completion of two evaluations consisting of paper and pencil, puzzles, computer tasks, and questionnaires
  • Parents completing some questionnaires

Results of the evaluations upon completion of the study will be provided.

Reward Systems and Food Avoidance in Adolescents with Low Weight Eating Disorders

We are studying brain function and eating behavior in adolescents with and without eating disorders, and testing a new treatment for patients with low weight eating disorders in comparison to a standard treatment.  Girls aged 12-18 who are at a low weight and have problems with restricting their eating, and girls aged 12-18 without eating problems may be eligible to participate.  Girls with an eating disorder participate in 10 visits over 8-10 weeks, and girls without eating disorders complete a total of 4 visits over 8-10 weeks.

Participation includes:

  • 2 fMRI brain scans with EMG
  • Computerized tasks and meal tasks
  • Interviews and questionnaires
  • 6 sessions of treatment for participants with eating disorders

There is no cost to participate in this research, and participants in the study will be compensated $275.

Neuropsychological Characteristics of Youth with Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

This study is examining children and young adults between the ages of 10-21 with Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, which is characterized by difficulty meeting nutritional needs due to sensory sensitivity, lack of interest in eating, picky eating and/or fear of choking/vomiting.  Participation entails 1 study visit consisting of brief interviews and questionnaires, behavioral tasks, and intelligence testing.  All participants will receive a report of their testing performance for their participation.