Eating disorders are the most under-researched set of psychiatric disorders:
The most extensive ever study into the causes of eating disorders, is due to be carried out by researchers at King’s College London. Partnering with the eating disorder charity Beat, and the US National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource, a minimum of 10,000 individuals will be recruited in England. All of these participants will have suffered some type of eating disorder at some point in their life.
Genetics & Eating Disorders
In order to help scientists gain a better understanding of these conditions, and thus facilitate new treatments to ameliorate patients’ lives, the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) is set to give a helping hand. To that end, they will generate a ‘bank’ of potential study subjects who can be called upon anytime in the future. Professor Gerome Breen, a geneticist, and the study lead at King’s College London’s NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, stated: “With EDGI, we hope to discover new genetic and environmental risk factors, and provide a platform that will increase the amount of research being done in the field. We want to make research into eating disorders faster, cheaper and more effective to meet desperate need for more effective treatments.”
Striving For Prevention
Up to 5% of the population will experience an eating disorders
Knowing more about the common risk factors that drive individuals to eating disorders is essential. In that vein, Professor Janet Treasure, a psychiatrist, and clinical lead, at the same institution, noted: “We want to recruit participants across the whole range of eating disorders; we want to understand common risk factors and how to develop both general and specific treatments for these serious and life-threatening conditions.” Further, Andrew Radford, Beat’s Chief Executive, added: “It’s become increasingly clear that there are genetic factors involved in eating disorders, and this crucial study will help to further our understanding and knowledge of these complex mental illnesses. It is particularly heartening that this study will cover all eating disorder diagnoses, including those where there is a serious lack of research. We hope that studies such as these can lead to more tailored treatments for eating disorders, and in time prevent them from developing in the first place.”
Perspectives From Mental Health Advocates
The well known mental health campaigner and advocate for eating disorder awareness, Hope Virgo, remarked: “I am absolutely delighted to be supporting EDGI because research into eating disorders is crucial. Eating disorders completely take over lives, and yet there is still a lack of understanding around treatment, prevention and support. And one of Beat’s ambassadors, Shanel, declared: “Having suffered with an eating disorder for 10 years, and now fully recovered, I do not wish the experience on anyone. Instead, I support more research into the field and why the EDGI is so valuable. I will be taking part in the study and hope others can join me in this tremendous opportunity for research.” The great part about what Shanel and the many other participants will be doing, is creating some positivity out their years of torment and suffering. Knowing that they have played a part in this huge project to help countless sufferers around the world, should be very rewarding for them, and today’s sufferers will be very grateful.