National Eating Disorders Association Announces Ground-Breaking Research

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In-Home, ‘Tele-Treatment Programs’ Being Tested to Address Lack of Accessibility to Quality, Specialized Care

Often Used as a ‘Tool’ to Enhance E.D. Practices, the Internet May Also Hold the Cure

newsNEW YORK CITYNov. 5, 2013 — For Immediate Release — The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) recently announced the first research initiatives – with an eye on utilizing technology – to be undertaken with $400,000 in grants from its newly launched Feeding Hope Fund for clinical research and training.

“The Internet and social networking have unfortunately been used to promote the practice of eating disorders via pro-ana and pro-mia websites and in chat rooms,” commented NEDA’s CEO & president Lynn Grefe, who notes that NEDA serves in an advisory capacity to both Facebook and Tumblr in addressing such issues and launched a safe social networking site for tweens and teens last year, “It is our hope – and our belief – that the Internet can also be a groundbreaking tool for battling these life-threatening illnesses.”

Two grant awardees were selected by NEDA’s Research Advisory Council and approved by its board of directors at its recent conference in Washington, D.C. Each recipient will receive two-year grants of $200,000 ($100,000 annually). Research programs are:

Daniel Le Grange, PhD, The University of Chicago
Family Based-Treatment Without Borders: Utilizing Telemedicine to Deliver Family-Based Treatment. This innovative study will address the needs of families in remote, rural or underrepresented regions of the U.S. by delivering Family-Based Treatment (FBT) via telemedicine (FBT-TM). FBT – also known as the Maudsley Approach – employs a family-focused approach, rather than individual counseling, which research has shown to be more effective in medically stable adolescent anorexia nervosa patients. However, accessing FBT is challenging for many families who are not located near appropriate treatment choices, which tend to be clustered in urban areas. This study will determine whether FBT conducted via telemedicine in a patient’s home retains its success rate.

Denise Wilfley, PhD, Washington University, St. Louis
Harnessing Technology for Training Clinicians to Deliver Interpersonal Psychotherapy. Researchers will develop a novel, guided online training program to train professionals in using Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), treatment for eating disorders that has proven to be effective in studies. This study will examine the efficacy of training counselors via the Internet for psychotherapy treatment of bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and subclinical eating disorders, with the aim of increasing the number of clinicians trained to deliver IPT effectively.

“We congratulate the recipients of the first grants to be presented by NEDA’s Feeding Hope Fund for clinical research and training,” Grefe said, “and thank them for their innovation and their dedication to the vision of a world without eating disorders. Their work is making the best use of today’s resources for tomorrow’s challenges.”

Added NEDA Research Advisory Committee co-chair Walter Kaye, M.D., “It is critical that we address both the expense of and the lack of accessibility to treatment for eating disorders … and the lack of research funds available for addressing these issues. NEDA is proud to provide funding to further these projects, which were selected based on an emphasis of program innovation and projected clinical impact.”

Thomas Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health – who recently spoke as keynote speaker at NEDA’s conference as the father of a child who has battled an eating disorder – commented, “Because they have the highest mortality rates of all mental disorders, further research to better understand eating disorders is critical. Research is our best hope for effective prevention and even better treatments in the future.”

Concluded Patrick J. Kennedy, former Congressman, “I have always felt that eating disorders suffer the most persistent discrimination within the mental health community in both insurance coverage and in research funding. I commend NEDA for raising awareness to these issues and for setting the stage for progress.”

In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. Eating disorders are bio-psycho-social illnesses with potentially life-threatening consequences. Despite the severity and prevalence, research funding in this field is severely lacking.

The Feeding Hope Fund was announced in February during NEDA’s 26th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The program raises restricted funds for awarding grants to qualified clinical researchers and experts. Projects funded will either develop and test new treatments or provide training on established evidence-based treatments to fellow clinicians. This project is in direct response to seriously underfunded clinical research and training in the field of eating disorders.

Although serious and potentially life-threatening, the ability to gain insight into the cause behind the disease will lead to improved prevention and treatment options and ultimately a potential cure. And you can help! All levels of giving will receive exclusive updates and invitations to events, an annual report on updates and recipients, listing on the website, and a commemorative pin.

To help support the Feeding Hope Fund, visit or contact Terry Marks at [email protected] or 212-575-6200, ext. #307.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit

– Submitted by Kelly Willliams of Greenleaf & Associates