The Laureate Eating Disorders Program stands as a Center of Excellence for both treatment and research in the field of eating disorders. Through work with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, the Eating Disorder Progam's clinicians are continuing this work today.
Highlighted Research Contributions
Laureate Institutue for Brain Research
The Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) was developed as an entity devoted to redefining the biological nature of mental illness. At the institute, Kyle Simmons, Ph.D., leads the lab on feeding related disorders and works closely with our medical director, Scott Moseman, M.D. The overarching goal of Dr. Simmons' research program at LIBR is to study how abnormalities in the neural systems supporting feeding and social cognition predispose individuals to the development of eating disorders, and to then leverage these findings to improve eating disorder treatment outcomes. Current funding includes a NARSAD grant to better understand harm avoidance in adolescent anorexia, with Dr. Moseman as a collaborator.
For more information on the cutting-edge work underway at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, please visit www.laureateinstitute.org
National Collegiate Athletic Association Study on Eating Disorders
Laureate was awarded the opportunity to collaborate with the NCAA to investigate the nature and extent of eating disorders among Division I athletes across the U.S. Results of the study prompted the NCAA, IOC and various other amateur athletic organizations (including USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Tennis Association) to develop guidelines for early detection and prevention of eating disorders. Laureate's treatement program has both expertise and sensitivity to the unique recovery challenges faced by athletes.
Genetics and Eating Disorders
Laureate's clinicians have worked with the Genetics Collaborative Group, a consortium of 10 international sites in genetics research, of with Laureate is an affililated site. With funding from both the National Institute of Mental Health and the Price Foundation, this group has clearly established that eating disorders are genetically mediated, as has been found with other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety disorders. Research is continuing in hopes of finding specific biological interventions that will lead to more effective treatements and, ultimately, a cure.
Medical and Nutritional Treatment
Leah Graves, RD/LD, has published articles and lectured widely regarding the challenges of nutritional rehabilitation with eating disordered patients. Her expertise, in combination with medical care provided by program staff and Saint Francis Hospital, allows the program to safely treat patients with more severe medical problems.
Treatment Effectiveness and Outcome
Laureate collaborated with the Office of Women's Health in obtaining support from the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a review of evidence-based treatments and outcomes in the field of eating disorders. From this work, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality was awarded a grant to pursue study. In 2006, published findings demonstrated that eating disorders were highly lethal illnesses, but that evidence-based treatments were generally lacking. these alarming conclusions prompted increased awareness of the need for more research into effective treatment of eating disorders.
Laureate Outcomes and Genetics Initiative
In 2004, the Warren Medical Research Foundation commiteed long-term support to the Laureate Eating Disorders Program to assess outcomes and course of illness for patients treated in our program. patients participate in a comprehensive structured assessment which establishes primary and secondary diagnoses, complete a variety of self-report measures, and provide a DNA sample. Patients are reinterviewed to evaluate progress at discharge and one year follow-up. This sophisticated database provides critical information for the program and the field at-large to evaluate treatment and predict outcomes.
Behavioral Family Therapy vs. Systemic Family Therapy: A National Institute of Mental Health Funded Collaborative Study
Behavioral Family Therapy (also known as the Maudsley approach) for adolescents experiencing anorexia nervosa has produced impressive recovery rates. Laureate clinicians served as co-principal investigators on this grant comparing the effectiveness of Behavioral Family Therapy to another form of family therapy. In addition, the study will offer information about the effectiveness of the treatment method when it is more broadly disseminated.
Prevention: The Tulsa Junior League Project
The Laureate Eating Disorders Program and the Tulsa Junior League collaborated on the first large-scale effort to administer an evidence-based prevention program that was delivered by non-clinicians. Usign the "Full of Ourselves" program developed by Catherien Steiner-Adair at Harvard University, approximately 20 Junior League members were trained to deliver the curriculum to girls at six local middle schools, where it was presented weekly for 12 weeks during school hours. Pre-intervention, post-intervention and one year follow-up data was collected as well. The experience was well-regarded by the Junior League, the participating schools and the Laureate research group.