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Advances in Eating Disorders Summarized in Lancet Seminar

Researchers provide insight into the causal factors behind disease onset and maintenance

THURSDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- New developments in eating disorders, including research on the biological contributions to illness onset and maintenance, may have important implications for clinicians, according to a Seminar published online Nov. 19 in The Lancet.

To supplement a previous Lancet Seminar about eating disorders published in 2002, Janet Treasure, of King's College London, and colleagues conducted a comprehensive literature review of articles published before 2009.

The researchers predicted that diagnostic criteria for eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified, in the upcoming diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fifth edition (DSM-V) will likely be broader, which will increase the current estimated 5 percent lifetime prevalence of all eating disorders. This will also decrease the more than 50 percent of patients currently described as having an unspecified eating disorder. In addition, DSM-V will likely include binge eating disorders as an additional form of eating disorder.

"The causal factors underpinning eating disorders have been clarified by understanding about the central control of appetite. Cultural, social, and interpersonal elements can trigger onset, and changes in neural networks can sustain the illness," the authors write. "Overall, apart from studies reporting pharmacological treatments for binge eating disorder, advances in treatment for adults have been scarce, other than interest in new forms of treatment delivery."

One researcher reported being an author of a book on eating disorders, while another researcher reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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