Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious mental disorder with impaired functioning including not only the cognitive and socio-emotional but also physical domains. Improved treatments, especially for adults with AN, are urgently needed. The insights gained from basic research in experimental animal models and the advent of cognitive neuroscience have produced major advances in our understanding of the condition, but translating these into clinical research or practice remains a challenge. We describe here what the eating disorders field can gain from schizophrenia research in this area. We use the example of socio-emotional impairments in AN to describe the iterative process between basic research and intervention development for neurobiologically informed and based treatments for this condition and briefly touch on some other examples that stem from translational science.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The general aim of this ex post facto study was to investigate the emotional component of theory of mind (eToM) in a sample of 97 female patients with eating disorders (ED), considering all the diagnostic subtypes. Empirical research on this matter in ED is limited, specially focused on anorexia nervosa (AN), and results have been contradictory. The Reading the Mind in the Eyes test was administered to the patients and to 39 healthy controls. The emotional valence of the items was also examined. Patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) and ED-not otherwise specified (EDNOS) showed a poorer eToM ability compared to controls, especially in relation to positive emotions and non-emotional cognitive states. AN patients showed no differences in relation to controls. These results suggest that BN and EDNOS may show a specific pattern of difficulties inferring complex emotions, while AN patients would have no relevant difficulties in this regard. These deficits may need to be targeted in psychological treatment.
International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology 05/2012; · 2.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FDA approval of Belviq and Qsymia seems to suggest that novel pharmacological targets to modulate human abnormal eating behaviours are still to be identified. However, a renewed translational approach opens new avenues on eating disorders and female vulnerability, highlighting the role of our reward pathway in obesity and binge eating and leading to potential novel targets. Nevertheless, the 'food addiction' hypothesis is still causing much scientific debate. In this context the interest in the modulation of ghrelin pathway is still very high although, so far, only ghrelin agonism has confirmed its therapeutic potential in cachectic patients. Unfortunately, ghrelin modulation does not offer a therapeutic option for Anorexia Nervosa, where novel promising pharmacological treatments are still to be uncovered.
Current Opinion in Pharmacology 02/2014; 14C(1):1-5. DOI:10.1016/j.coph.2013.09.015 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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