Eating Disorders Home > Eating Disorder Research

The primary focus of scientists and doctors who research eating disorders is understanding and treating these conditions. Current areas of research include hormones, genetics, and the brain. People who volunteer to participate in studies help advance our understanding of eating disorders and may benefit from early treatments that show promise.

An Introduction to Research on Eating Disorders

Doctors and scientists all over the country are conducting eating disorder research. These studies are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective. This research has already led to many advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective methods for dealing with eating disorders. But controlling eating disorders remains a challenge.

Current Areas of Focus in Eating Disorder Research

Doctors and scientists involved with researching eating disorders are focusing on a number of different areas, including the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions, medications, and the combination of these treatments, with the goal of improving outcomes for people with eating disorders.
Researchers are also studying the impact of various factors on developing eating disorders, including:
  • Appetite control biology
  • Genetics
  • The brain
  • Hormones.
Appetite Control Biology
Eating disorders involve serious disturbances in eating behavior, such as an extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress or extreme concern about body shape or weight.
Eating disorder research scientists are investigating how and why initially voluntary behaviors, such as eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, at some point move beyond control in certain people and develop into an eating disorder.
Studies on the basic biology of appetite control and its alteration by prolonged overeating or starvation have uncovered enormous complexity, but in the long run have the potential to lead to new pharmacologic treatments for eating disorders.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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