Insight Behavioral Health Centers and the University of Chicago’s Eating Disorder Program are teaming up to study new options for adolescent patients with anorexia nervosa who do not respond to current treatment protocols.
Daniel Le Grange, Ph.D., director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of Chicago, will serve as principal investigator for the expansive three-year study. Dr. Le Grange was a member of the original team that developed the widely accepted Maudsley Approach as an effective treatment method for adolescents struggling with anorexia nervosa.
The new team will study whether patients who do not respond to the Maudsley method, also called Family Based-Treatment (FBT), might benefit from adding one or more modules borrowed from other evidence-based approaches into the treatment mix.
“We find that the Maudsley Approach typically works very well for about fifty percent of patients struggling with anorexia nervosa,” says Dr. Le Grange.
“This exciting new study will help us bridge the gap between research and clinical practice. We hope the end result will be a successful treatment plan for the other fifty percent, who are at risk for serious medical complications and potentially death. More people currently die from anorexia than any other form of mental illness,” Dr. Le Grange added.
Under the Maudsley Approach, family members play a significant role in making sure the patient returns to an appropriate weight before safely handing control of food intake back to the adolescent. The second investigator for the research project will be Insight’s Chief Clinical Officer, Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher, Ph.D., who is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and provides Family-Based Therapyat Insight.
"We hope that this research will yield a new, reproducible approach to treating clients with anorexia nervosa who have not been helped by standard FBT,” said Dr. Le Grange.
“This will enable eating disorder treatment professionals around the world to provide a higher standard of care for these patients." — Dr. Le Grange
About Insight Behavioral Health Centers
Insight Behavioral Health Centers provides treatment for adolescents and adults dealing with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. We offer a comprehensive program with locations in Northbrook, Evanston, Willowbrook and downtown Chicago. Insight is accredited by the Joint Commission and is a teaching affiliate of the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University.
About the University of Chicago’s Eating Disorder Program
The internationally recognized program at the University of Chicago is among a handful of programs in the United States to offer an innovative approach called the Maudsley Family-Based Treatment. The key is structured family therapy that encourages parents to use a variety of ways to help their child get past his or her eating disorder and redirect the obsessive thoughts and behaviors associated with eating and weight gain. The University of Chicago team utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach where families meet with their primary therapist, a psychiatrist for medication management (if required) and a physician for the medical management of their eating disorder. Currently adolescents and their families receive care through a variety of research studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health as well as in the medical center’s outpatient clinic.