Research

Eating Disorder Research Program

EDCare participates actively in important leading medical research on eating disorders, with our Clinical Director, Dr. Tamara Pryor, also serving as Director of Clinical Research. We collaborate closely with Dr. Guido Frank, Associate Director of the Eating Disorders Program and Director of the Developmental Brain Research Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Dr. Frank researches the biology and behavior of adolescents and adults with eating disorders. In just the past few years since he began collaborating with EDCare, he has published over 30 articles on the topic in peer-reviewed journals – many of them co-authored by Dr. Pryor, and including patients participating from EDCare.

“It is OK to doubt what you have been taught to believe.”

Developmental Brain Research Focused on Eating Disorders

Anorexia (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN) are severe psychiatric disorders that most commonly begin during adolescence – which is a critical period of significant change in both biological and psychosocial development. Neurobiological and genetic factors have only recently been recognized as contributing to the development of AN and BN, in addition to well-known psychological and environmental factors. This new understanding of the etiology of eating disorders (ED) lays the foundation for a developmental neuroscience perspective in ED research.

"Brain imaging provides a window into the living human brain and may help us understand mechanisms that cause eating disorders.  Only if we know how the brain works differently in eating disorders then we can work to improve treatment and make recovery more successful."  Guido Frank, MD., FAED

 

Current Eating Disorder Research at EDCare

Dr. Frank is conducting a study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, in females ages 16 to 29 years. They are admitted into EDCare’s Partial Hospitalization Program as well as the Eating Disorders Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado. This study allows for any diagnosis of an eating disorder as well as co-morbid anxiety or depression and most medication use. Over five years, the study will recruit 300 females with eating disorders and 100 healthy comparison control individuals.

Interested eligible patients will meet with Dr. Frank and his research team to review consent forms and study procedures. These include a diagnostic assessment, a questionnaire about mood, eating behaviors, and personality traits, and a special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. In addition to brain structure, the MRI will record reactions to patients tasting sweet and neutral stimuli during imaging.

Here are some selected abstracts of publications, with links to their full text:

Transitional Psychology (2016)

Altered Structural and Effective Connectivity in Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa in Circuits that Regulate Energy and Reward Homeostasis. Guido Frank, Megan Shott, Justin Riederer, Tamara Pryor

Click here to read the article

CNS Drugs: Drug Therapy in Neurobiology and Psychiatry (Springer, 2016)

The Role of Psychotropic Medications in the Management of Anorexia Nervosa: Rationale, Evidence and Future Prospects. Guido K. W. Frank & Megan E. Shott

Click here to read the article

Journal of International Psychiatry (2016)

Extremes of Eating are Associated with Reduced Neural Taste Discrimination. Guido K.W. Frank, Megan E. Shott, Carrie Keffler, & Marc-Andre Cornier

Click here to read the article

Neuropsychopharmacology (2015)

Greater Insula White Matter Fiber Connectivity in Women Recovered from Anorexia Nervosa. Megan E. Shott, Tamara L. Pryor, Tony T. Yang, and Guido K.W. Frank

Click here to read the article

International Journal of Obesity (2014)

Orbitofrontal Cortex Volume and Brain Reward Response in Obesity. M.E. Shott, M.A. Cornier, V.A. Mittal, T.L. Pryor, M.S. Brown and Guido K.W. Frank

Click here to read the article

American Journal of Psychiatry (2013)

Alterations in Brain Structures Related to Taste Reward Circuitry in Ill and Recovered Anorexia Nervosa and in Bulimia Nervosa. Guido K. Frank, Megan E. Shott, Jennifer O. Hagman & Vijay A. Mittal

Click here to read the article

Current Psychiatry Report (2013)

Altered Brain Reward Circuits in Eating Disorders: Chicken or Egg? Guido K.W. Frank

Click here to read the article

International Journal of Eating Disorders (2013)

White Matter Integrity is Reduced in Bulimia Nervosa. Lisa N. Mettler, Megan E. Shott, Tamara Pryor, Tony T. Yang & Guido K.W. Frank

Click here to read the article

Neuropharmacology (2012)

Anorexia Nervosa and Obesity are Associated with Opposite Brain Reward Response. Guido K.W. Frank, Jeremy R. Reynolds, Megan E. Shott, Leah Jappe, Tony T. Yang, Jason R. Tregellas, & Randall C. O’Reilly

Click here to read the article

Wiley Online Library (2012)

Cognitive Set-Shifting in Anorexia Nervosa. Megan E. Shott, J. Vincent Filoteo, Kelly A.C. Bhatnagar, Nicole J. Peak, Jennifer O. Hagman, Roxanne Rockwell, Walter H. Kaye & Guido K.W. Frank

Click here to read the article

Neuropsycology (2012)

Altered Implicit Category Learning in Anorexia Nervosa. Megan E. Shott, J. Vincent Filoteo, Leah M. Jappe, Tamara Pryor, W. Todd Maddox, Michael D. H. Rollin, Jennifer O. Hagman, & Guido K. W. Frank

Click here to read the article

Journal of Biological Psychiatry (2011)

Altered Temporal Difference Learning in Bulimia Nervosa. Guido K.W. Frank, Jeremy R. Reynolds, Megan E. Shott, and Randall C. O’Reilly

Click here to read the article

International Journal of Eating Disorders (2011)

Heightened Fear of Uncertainty in Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. Guido K.W. Frank, Tami Roblek, Megan E. Shott, Leah M. Jappe, Michael D.H. Rollin, Jennifer O. Hagman, Tamara Pryor

Click here to read the article

Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (2011)

Altered Fimbria-Fornix White Matter Integrity in Anorexia Nervosa Predicts Harm Avoidance. Demitry Kazlouski, Michael D.H. Rollin, Jason Tregellas, Megan E. Shott, Leah M. Jappe, Jennifer O. Hagman, Tamara Pryor, Tony T. Yang, Guido K.W. Frank

Click here to read the article

International Journal of Eating Disorders (2011)

Heightened Sensitivity to Reward and Punishment in Anorexia Nervosa. Leah M. Jappe, Guido K.W. Frank, Megan E. Shott, Michael D.H. Rollin, Tamara Pryor, Jennifer O. Hagman, Tony T. Yang, Elizabeth Davis

Click here to read the article

Our Eating Disorder Research Team

Guido K.W. Frank, MD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; Associate Medical Director, Eating Disorders Program, Children’s Hospital Colorado; Director, Developmental Brain Research Program.

Tamara L. Pryor, PhD, FAED

Clinical Director and Director of Clinical Research Eating Disorder Center of Denver

Megan E. Shott, BS

Senior Professional Research Assistant, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Brogan Rossi, BS

Professional Research Assistant, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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Research

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Research

Developmental Brain Research Focused on Eating Disorders

Anorexia (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN) are severe psychiatric disorders that most commonly begin during adolescence – which is a critical period of significant change in both biological and psychosocial development. Neurobiological and genetic factors have only recently been recognized as contributing to the development of AN and BN, in addition to well-known psychological and environmental factors. This new understanding of the etiology of eating disorders (ED) lays the foundation for a developmental neuroscience perspective in ED research.

"Brain imaging provides a window into the living human brain and may help us understand mechanisms that cause eating disorders.  Only if we know how the brain works differently in eating disorders then we can work to improve treatment and make recovery more successful."  Guido Frank, MD., FAED

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