All news items

21-06-2017 15:34

The guideline "Relapse Prevention Anorexia Nervosa" is now available in English. Its intend is to provide guidance in working with a relapse prevention plan to prevent or early detect r...

01-02-2017 10:44

Prof. dr. Annemarie van Elburg has been appointed as honorary member of the NAE for the many activities she has undertaken in her past two terms as chairman of the NAE. 07-06-2016 16:22

Personality traits and uncertainty as a predictor for eating disorders

  • Genetic study

    A better understanding of the etiology of eating disorders is an important step towards development of better treatment strategies. Twin studies and linkage analysis have shown a clear genetic component, although only a few genes have convincingly been associated with eating disorders persé. This indicates the difficulty of finding and determining the genetic background of the complex and multifactorial eating disorders. We therefore focus our studies on specific endophenotypes, like reward sensitivity, hyperactivity, anxiety, neuropsychological vulnerabilities within the extreme phenotypes of eating disorders

    People involved:

    Roger Adan, Annemarie van Elburg, Unna Danner

  • Food choice behavior in adolescents with anorexia nervosa

    One of the main characteristics of anorexia nervosa is the highly restrictive food intake patients engage in. This extreme “dieting” behavior causes AN patients to achieve and maintain a significantly low body weight and has been proven to be extremely persistent to change (Walsh, 2013). Whereas the strict abstinence from foods might require extreme control at first, as dieting is engaged in repeatedly and persistently by AN patients, this behavior might ultimately become the dominant response and is presumably oftentimes triggered and acted upon in an automatic, unconscious manner. This project aims to gain understanding of the abnormal eating behavior in adolescents. It focusses on identifying adolescents at risk for developing anorexia nervosa (AN). It is of main importance to detect the abnormal eating pattern AN-patients engage in as soon as possible and provide help in order to increase the chances of recovery and avoid the behavior to become habitual leading to full-blown AN. Patients are able to over-control themselves, this neurocognitive mechanism has a pronounced developmental trajectory across adolescence and may offer potential as predictive biomarkers or handles for intervention. First objective is to validate a task that measures food choice behavior in adolescents (recently demonstrated in adults, Steinglass et al., 2014) and can be used as a prevention tool. Second aim is to gain insight in the neurocognitive processes that underlie abnormal food choice behavior. Current prevention methods are inadequate and interventions are only started once AN has developed decreasing chances of full recovery. This project has the potential to develop a method to identify those at risk to develop AN and should pave way for larger future studies probing to gain further knowledge of the relation between neural activity and the restrictive eating behavior with the ultimate goal to find new intervention and prevention possibilities.

    People involved:

    Unna Danner, Annemarie van Elburg, Steffi van Leeuwen, Lisanne Stessen

  • Study into the mental competence of patients with AN

    Mental competency is a complex issue with multiple dimensions, including medical, ethical and legal dimensions. In eating disorders this has not been widely researched, whilst the issues professionals have to deal with can be extremely complex. Can a patient with severe AN still competently decide about her treatment? The present study will examine how the mental competency of patients with AN can be reliably assessed. We will use a semi structured interview (MacCAT-T) and compare this to clinical judgment by one of our professionals. Diverse variables will be measured along with this, to see whether or not we can find factors predisposing to mental incompetency in these patients.

    People involved:

    Isis Elzakkers, Unna Danner, Hans Wijbrand Hoek and Annemarie van Elburg

  • Changing body size experience in anorexia nervosa using virtual reality body illusions

    Disturbed experience of body size is a key-factor in anorexia nervosa. Previously we have shown that anorexia patients overestimate the size of their own hand. This overestimation decreased after inducing the rubber hand illusion. This is a multisensory illusion in which a visuo-tactile conflict is created: Participants see a rubber hand in front of them being stroked with a soft brush, while at the same time their actual, hidden, hand is stroked as well. This results in the illusionary experience of being able to feel with the rubber hand, as if it is part of the own body. We are now interested in whether this type of illusion also affects body size experience of more clinically relevant body part than the hand. Therefore we designed a full body illusion in virtual reality. Participants wear virtual reality goggles and when they look down they no longer see their own body, but the body of an avatar. Stroking the actual abdomen and the virtual abdomen will result in an experience of ownership over the body of the avatar. We ask participants (healthy controls and anorexia patients) to estimate their height, and the size of their shoulders, waist and hips before and after induction of the full body illusion. Our main research question is, do patients experience their body size differently (more accurately) after they experience the virtual body as if it is their own body?

    People involved:

    Anouk Keizer, Annemarie van Elburg

logo's RMI Rintveld UMCU ISI UU Columbia University