Research studies and opportunities for free treatment

There are lots of ways to fight eating disorders. One way is to participate in research. Well-done studies help us understand why people become eating disordered, how they recover, and how treatment can be made more effective.

In addition, it’s sad but true that treatment for an eating disorder is prohibitively expensive for many people, and insurance coverage tends to be minimal at best. Many research projects offer free treatment to qualified participants. Some even pay stipends, and procedures are supervised by clinical staff with professional credentials.

The treatment you receive in a study probably will not last for the several months, or even years, required to support full recovery, but it certainly can help you define the path you need to follow. And give you hope that recovery is possible.

Please note: ANRED does not recommend any of the following projects, nor does our staff personally know any of the researchers. We offer the following Websites, e-mail addresses, and brief project descriptions for your information. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, evaluate potential benefits and possible risks. Be a wise consumer of medical and psychological services and procedures.

  • Learning to COPE with eating disorders

One of the oldest and most respected research programs in the U.S. is the one at COPE (Center for Overcoming Problem Eating) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Click here to see what studies are currently looking for subjects. The site includes e-mail links so you can apply or ask for more information. (2/01) 12/01)

  • The biology of eating disorders

COPE (see above) is exploring biological factors that may lead to eating disorders. They are using PET scans and MRIs (non-invasive and painless) to study brain activity. They need women 18-45 who have been recovered from anorexia nervosa or bulimia for at least one year. Participants will be required to complete a screening process, various questionnaires, and interviews. Must be medication free (birth control pills acceptable). The study requires travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but travel expenses will be reimbursed. A stipend of up to $1200 will be paid on completion of the study. For more information, call 1.866.265.9289 or send e-mail. You can also visit the study’s website. (6/04)

  • New York State Psychiatric Institute

Located at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, the NYSPI Eating Disorders Clinic offers free treatment to adolescent girls and women eligible for research who suffer from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. They also offer free treatment to men and women who suffer from binge eating disorder. For more information on current studies, Visit their Website. You can also e-mail them or call 212-543-5316. (7/01)

  • The genetics of anorexia nervosa

Research on genes and eating disorders: The National Institute of Mental Health is sponsoring a multicenter, international study seeking to determine whether a gene or genes might predispose individuals to develop anorexia nervosa. They need families with at least two members (mothers, sisters, aunts, etc.) who have or had anorexia nervosa, and who would be willing to participate. The study involves the completion of interviews, questionnaires, and a blood draw. Participants do not need to travel and will be paid upon completion of the study. For more information call 1-888-895-3886 You may also send e-mail inquiries or check the project’s Website. (4/04)

A branch of the study will be conducted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. If you are closer to them, check their Website or call 1.888.895.3886 and ask to speak to a research representative. (12/02)

  • Can medication slow or prevent loss of bone minerals in females with anorexia nervosa?

Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, is evaluating a new medication. They are looking for young women 10-17 who are anorexic and who also have had at least one menstrual period. Free study-related medical care includes lab work, physical exams, bone density scans, healthcare information, and compensation for time and travel for parents. For more information, contact Theodore Weltzin, MD, Eating Disorders Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital, 262.646.4411 or 1.800.767.4411. (2/03)

  • University of Minnesota study: compulsive overeating

Men and women ages 18-65 who compulsively overeat are needed for a research study involving free group therapy. For more information please call 612-627-1991. (3/04)

  • University of Minnesota study: Do you binge eat? Does your eating feel out of control?

If so, you may be eligible to participate in a research study of an investigational drug for the treatment of binge-eating disorder. To qualify for the study you must be 18-65 years old, overweight, and in general good health. If eligible you will receive, at no cost to you, study medication, study-related exams, physical exams, and EKG, and lab tests. For more information, please call (612) 627-1991 (3/04)(6/04)

  • University of Minnesota study: Do you binge eat and purge?

Researchers need women to participate in this study who are 18 and older and who struggle with binge eating and purging. Free therapy will be provided. For more information, please call (612) 627-1991. (6/04)

  • The role of existential anxiety in anorexia nervosa

Previous research suggests that anorexic behavior may be an attempt to take control of a chaotic environment and that a need for stability and meaning contributes to the development of eating disorders. Additional research is now being conducted in the psychology department of the University of Birmingham in England. Read a detailed description on their Website. If you want to participate, click on the e-mail link at the bottom of that site or click here. (9/03)

  • Clinical trials: compulsive, impulsive, and anxiety disorders

Mount Sinai Medical Center is offering no-cost treatment for children, adolescents and adults who suffer from binge-eating disorder. For information on current studies, visit their website or send an e-mail to the research coordinator. You can also call 212-659-8732 for information (1/04)

  • Anorexia nervosa and bone loss in adolescent girls

Anorexia nervosa can cause bone loss at an early age. We are seeking 13 to 18 year old adolescent girls with anorexia nervosa and 13 to 18 year old healthy adolescent girls without anorexia nervosa for a research study at Massachusetts General Hospital examining the effect of estrogen administration on bone density and bone metabolism. Estrogen will be given only to girls with anorexia nervosa. Eligible candidates will stay in our Clinical Research Center overnight four times over the course of one and a half years, and will need to be seen in the outpatient unit of the Clinical Research Center seven times. The study will include bone density and hormonal evaluations, and administration of estrogen (a natural female hormone). Up to $1050 remuneration and parking is offered. Please contact Madhu Misra at 617-724-5602 if you are interested in being part of this study. (4/04)

  • University of Chicago looking for effective psychological treatments

A five-year NIMH study to evaluate effective outpatient psychological treatments for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. A joint project with Stanford University. Participants must be between 12 and 18, live with at least one parent, and have anorexia. Teens and parents will be interviewed, fill out questionnaires, and then be assigned to one of two outpatient treatment plans. For more information call 773.702.0789 or send e-mail. (6/04)

  • Eating disorders in pregnancy

Volunteers are needed for a study of how women cope with an ED during pregnancy. Participants will be interviewed and will complete a questionnaire about body image. The interview can be conducted by phone. Participation will take about one hour, and privacy and confidentiality will be strictly maintained. Participants must be pregnant, 18 or older, English speaking, and have a history of anorexia nervosa or bulimia. A stipend will be paid. For more information, call Sara Shaffer, graduate student at San Diego State University, 619.261.8346 or send an e-mail. (6/04)

  • Experiences with primary care physicians

How are doctors perceived by their patients with eating disorders? Help researchers at the Cedric Centre for Counselling in Victoria, B.C., Canada, gain information that will support a study of this subject. If you want to volunteer, go to the centre’s website and take an anonymous survey. No personal information is asked for, but you must have, or have had, an eating disorder. (6/04)

  • Clinical practice survey

Mental health therapists are needed for a survey that will determine the types of clinical approaches and interventions being used in the treatment of eating disorders. If you are a therapist who treats people with eating disorders, please complete the survey, which is found online. Click on the link to New Practice Survey. The survey is sponsored by the Academy for Eating Disorders and special interest groups in the following areas: psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and Hispano/Latino American advocacy associations. (11/04)

  • Dieting and eating disorders: the role of friends

This study is investigating the relationship of eating patterns (both thoughts and behaviors) and friendships among adult females. Participants will complete an online questionnaire. If you are 18 or older and want to be involved, you can review the questionnaire on the research Website. The project is being conducted in the Psychology Department of McGill University. (2/05)