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J Psychopharmacol. 2017 Nov;31(11):1485-1495. doi: 10.1177/0269881117722999. Epub 2017 Sep 11.

Eating disorders: Insights from imaging and behavioral approaches to treatment.

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Heather Shaw Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, USA.


Understanding factors that contribute to eating disorders, which affect 13% of females, is critical to developing effective prevention and treatment programs. In this paper, we summarize results from prospective studies that identified factors predicting onset and persistence of eating disorders and core symptom dimensions. Next, implications for intervention targets for prevention, and treatment interventions from the risk- and maintenance-factor findings are discussed. Third, given that evidence suggests eating disorders are highly heritable, implying biological risk and maintenance factors for eating disorders, we offer working hypotheses about biological factors that might contribute to eating disorders, based on extant risk factor findings, theory, and cross-sectional studies. Finally, potentially fruitful directions for future research are presented. We suggest that it would be useful for experimental therapeutics trials to evaluate the effects of reducing the risk factors on future onset of eating pathology and on reducing maintenance factors on the risk for persistence of eating pathology, and encourage researchers to utilize prospective high-risk studies so that knowledge regarding potential intervention targets for prevention and treatment interventions for eating disorders can be advanced. Using the most rigorous research designs should help improve the efficacy of prevention and treatment interventions for eating disorders.


Eating disorders; biological risk factors; prospective studies

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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