Events / Research Updates

Sharing Ideas and Findings This Fall

Fall is in full swing. The leaves are changing, students and teachers are back in their routines, the clocks have been reset. Our team has been busy as well–attending and presenting at numerous conferences and educational events. Below is a snapshot of some of these activities.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons by Pixabay

Joanna Steinglass, MD, took part in a teaching day at The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt in Maryland on October 6th and 7th.  The symposium was titled “Eating Disorders: State of the Art Treatment.”  Part of a panel of experts, she joined colleagues Carly Guss, MD (Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School), Stephen Touyz, MD (University of Sydney), Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, PhD (Stanford University School of Medicine) and James Mitchell, MD (University of North Dakota Medical Center) to talk about her research initiatives that focus on cognitive neuroscience and the development of mechanism-based interventions, including exposure and response prevention and habit reversal approaches for anorexia nervosa. If you’d like to learn more about the possible role of habit in anorexia nervosa, listen to Dr. Steinglass’ podcast with the folks from Nature Neuroscience on Neuropod.

Closer to home, Dr. Steinglass gave a talk titled “Stuck in a Rut: The Neurobiology Behind Anorexia Nervosa’s Stubborn Grip” on November 1st. This was part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture series, which offers free talks to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. These lectures are hosted by Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. To watch the talk on the neurobiology of anorexia nervosa and read some of Dr. Steinglass’ impressions of the evening, check out this related post.

November continues to be busy. We were delighted to participate recently in the New York Obesity Forum and The Obesity Society meeting, held outside of Washington, DC:

Dr. Ranzenhofer explains her findings.

Research assistant, Haley Davis, gives a “lightning talk” on genetics data.

  • Research assistant Haley Davis, A.B., presented data from our ongoing Healthy Kids Study, spearheaded by Laurel Mayer, MD, looking at how children ages 5-10 make decisions about food.
  • Lisa Ranzenhofer, PhD, also presented on the Healthy Kids Study, and specifically on the potential impact of genes on eating behavior. Her preliminary results suggested that the impact of genes may vary based on a child’s body mass index. The implications of this are not yet known, but it may be that certain genes are especially important in youth who are already above-average weight by middle childhood.
  • Loren Gianini, PhD, presented a poster looking at what is happening in the brains of individuals who have lost weight and kept it off while they are making decisions about what foods to eat. (Read more about the study here.)

The meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is next up. Their meeting will take place in San Diego. Deborah Glasofer, PhD will be busy there as well. She will be part of two symposia; the first, on Friday November 17th is titled A New Way Forward? Novel Applications of Exposure-Based Therapy in the Context of Eating Disorders and will be chaired by Eric Storch, PhD (University of South Florida) and Nicholas Farrell, PhD (Rogers Memorial Hospital).  Presenters will address recent findings on the effectiveness of several innovative exposure-based interventions in the treatment of eating disorders in diverse contexts (e.g., inpatient settings, treatment of EDs in youth). Dr. Glasofer will describe the habit model of the persistence of anorexia nervosa, as well as outcomes from the application of a habit reversal intervention in her talk, “Targeting Habits in Anorexia Nervosa.”

The second symposium, Saturday, November 18th, will be chaired by Jamal Essayli, PhD (Pennsylvania State University Medical Center) and is titled Adapting Exposure Therapy to Address Disordered Eating and Body Dissatisfaction in Diverse Populations and Treatment Settings. This symposium will present results from five research projects that each adapted exposure therapy for a distinct population and treatment setting. Dr. Glasofer will speak on “Exposure Therapy and Response Prevention for Adults with Anorexia Nervosa: Developing Treatments More Than ‘Just Eating.’”

Research assistant Emily Walsh, B.A. will also present a poster: Does an adjunct novel behavioral intervention on a weight-restoration unit improve emotion regulation in inpatients with anorexia nervosa?

Our team remains committed to educating about and sharing results from our research and grateful to those who participate in our studies. We welcome opportunities to learn from others in their efforts to understand and treat eating disorders and look forward to future collaborations.

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