Introduction to the research area

​MD Alia Hussain presenting the poster "Lipid and Cholesterol Dysregulation in Anorexia Nervosa  - a Systematic Review

Research on eating disorders (ED) is a primary area of research at Mental Health Centre Ballerup. In January 2017 there will be a merger of treatment facilities, after which all adult patients with ED in the Region of Copenhagen in Denmark will be offered treatment at Mental Health Center Ballerup. As the primary treatment center for ED in the Capital Region of Denmark, we have a strong commitment to internationally recognized research within the field of ED with the aim of providing better treatments. 

The objective of our research is to improve understanding of the biology (pathophysiology) of ED and thereby find clues to improved treatments.

More specifically, our aims are:

  1. To identify biomarkers for prognosis and response to treatment of Eating Disorders, which will aid in developing tailored treatment plans.
  2. To identify novel molecular targets for treatment.
  3. To reduce mortality of Eating Disorders
  4. To improve secondary prevention

Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate among all psychiatric disorders. Chronicity is high (47%) and the effect of current treatments is insufficient. About 50% of patients with Eating disorders will suffer through their lifetime. Current treatment aims to normalize weight; stabilize eating patterns; educate about nutrition, eating and eating disorders; treat co-morbidities (e.g. depression, anxiety, insomnia); and to improve coping skills and understanding of dysfunctional thought/behavioral patterns, aiming to improve insight. The latter is done via psychotherapy.

In view of the high mortality and chronicity, there is a great need to radically rethink treatment to complement and bolster the effect of current treatments for ED. There are genetic, microbiome and biomarker findings which suggest a biological influence on ED, particularly Anorexia Nervosa. We are conducting research that focusses on the study of biomarkers in order to deepen understanding of the pathophysiology of ED. Our aim is to find clues to better treatments of ED.