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Research will examine new intervention for avoidant food intake in children

October 24, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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One of three clinical research grants announced this month by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) will explore a potential specialized intervention for the relatively new diagnosis known as avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. The disorder, introduced in the DSM-5 and affecting children ages 5 to 12, tends to involve significant food avoidance based on the characteristics of certain foods, such as appearance or texture.

James Lock, MD, PhD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, is receiving $100,000 from NEDA to test a family-based treatment approach for a disorder that primarily affects boys and individuals with greater levels of co-occurring anxiety.

“Kids with atypical eating disorders like avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder are just beginning to be accurately diagnosed, so the opportunity to study an intervention like family-based treatment for this condition is crucial,” Lock said in a NEDA news release.

NEDA this month announced two grants of $100,000 and one inaugural Early Career Investigator award of $50,000 under its Feeding Hope Fund, which since 2013 has dedicated more than $1 million to the relatively underfunded area of eating disorders research. The other two grant recipients this year are:

  • Allegra Broft, MD, of Columbia University's Center for Eating Disorders, receiving $100,000 to examine the possible benefits of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in altering eating behavior in patients with anorexia nervosa.

  • Jocelyn LeBow, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, receiving $50,000 to evaluate whether a cognitive therapy targeting emotion regulation deficits could be effective for adolescents with bulimia and binge eating disorder; the therapy already has been tested successfully in adults.