|UND, NRI receive eating disorders grant|
Researchers in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (NRI) in Fargo have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance the understanding of eating disorders among health professionals.
Stephen Wonderlich and James Mitchell, who each hold the title of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at UND, have received $110,000 from the National Institute of Mental Health for a project aimed at furthering the scientific understanding of eating disorder diagnoses. Ross Crosby, clinical professor of clinical neuroscience at the Medical School and director of biomedical statistics and methodology at NRI, will also serve as a consulting statistician on the project.
With grant support, they plan to convene a series of meetings of a group of leading researchers in the field to clarify "the next generation of eating disorders diagnosis," Wonderlich said. The group will conduct scientific studies to improve the classification of symptoms and characteristics of eating disorders by professionals who treat these very serious mental health and medical disorders.
The group, which begins meeting in early 2008 at Washington, D.C., will invite other scientists to attend and present their research data on particular issues concerning eating disorders.
“Scientists and clinicians from around the world will be invited by our group to present information that will address important diagnostic questions,” Wonderlich said. “It provides us with an important and unique opportunity to better understand these disorders.”
Eating disorders, which are more prevalent in women than men, are very serious and sometimes fatal conditions. They include anorexia nervosa, characterized by self-starvation, intense fear of fat and gaining weight, and body image disturbances; and bulimia nervosa, marked by binge eating behaviors accompanied by self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse or excessive exercise. Patients who suffer from these disorders have high rates of other psychiatric problems such as major depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and personality disorders, Wonderlich said.
Mitchell serves as president of the NRI and chairman of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the UND Medical School. Wonderlich is director of clinical research at NRI and associate chairman of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the UND Medical School. Together they serve as co-directors of MeritCare’s Eating Disorder Institute.
Both are internationally recognized as authorities in eating disorders research and treatment.