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Eating disorders

A unified, biopsychosocial understanding of eating disorders from the InsideOut
Exploring the complex biopsychosocial interplay of eating disorders in order to develop novel treatments and improve patient outcomes.

Eating disorders have amongst the highest mortality rates of the mental illnesses, however frequently go untreated or undiagnosed. Where treatment does occur, around 50% make a full recovery, with many going on to develop a chronic course, contributing to $69.7billion in healthcare burden annually. Whilst advances have been made in our understanding of the aetiological mechanisms and maintenance factors of these illnesses, their complex interplay is lesser understood.

We seek to bridge this gap by bringing together researchers from biomedical, nutritional, psychological, economic, policy and social science backgrounds. This innovative approach seeks to address a paucity of positive outcome in this illness group, with research conducted across the food and weight spectrum, designed to be directly clinically translatable.

Eating disorders have amongst the highest mortality rates of the mental illnesses, however frequently go untreated or undiagnosed. Where treatment does occur, around 50% make a full recovery, with many going on to develop a chronic course, contributing to $69.7billion in healthcare burden annually. Whilst advances have been made in our understanding of the aetiological mechanisms and maintenance factors of these illnesses, their complex interplay is lesser understood.

We seek to bridge this gap by bringing together researchers from biomedical, nutritional, psychological, economic, policy and social science backgrounds. This innovative approach seeks to address a paucity of positive outcome in this illness group, with research conducted across the food and weight spectrum, designed to be directly clinically translatable.

InsideOut Institute, where the Eating Disorders Node is based, engages in regular partnerships and collaboration with CPC researchers in nutrition, obesity and exercise, population health science and epidemiology, gut microbiology, and more. Further partnerships currently exist with local, national and international research institutes including the Brain and Mind Centre, Lambert Initiative, QIMR Berghofer and the University of California San Francisco. These relationships exist to promote a dynamic network of expertise that will drive change and promote innovative solutions to eating disorders. Current projects include exploring the link between the Gut Microbiome and Anorexia Nervosa, CBD oil and Psilocybin treatment for Anorexia Nervosa, FBT for rural and remote adolescents, Binge Eating e-Therapy, Child & Adolescent Hospital Pathways, the effect of COVID-19 on people with an eating disorder, and more.

The Institute has unique links to the NSW Health System, currently leading a $29million government reform to develop evidence-based care for people with eating disorders across health districts - transforming emergency, hospital and community treatment pathways. The institute has been funded by the federal government to conceive and develop a national research and translation strategy,  putting the proposed node in a unique position to influence innovative research solutions readily translatable to clinical practice.

Some of our key achievements include:

  • $3.67mil MRFF grant to create a National Centre for Health System Research and Translation for Eating Disorders.
  • Lead of $29.5mil NSW Health service reform program, including training the workforce in evidence-based care.
  • $4 million for translation of evidence into health system 
  • $600,000 in Philanthropy to examine genetics, the microbiome and nutritional aspects in eating disorder onset and maintenance. 

This research will promote innovative, multidisciplinary solutions directly translatable to clinical practice, ultimately improving outcomes for individuals suffering eating disorders. 

  • Dr Sarah Maguire (Leader)
  • Prof Stephen Touyz
  • Prof Stephen Simpson
  • Prof Iain McGregor
  • Bronny Carroll
  • Prof Ian Hickie
  • A/Prof Andrew Holmes
  • Dr Jane Miskovic-Wheatley
  • Dr Phillip Aouad
  • Prof Ian Caterson
  • Dr Michelle Cunich
  • Prof Louise Baur
  • Prof Natasha Nassar
  • Prof Andrew Wilson
  • Dr Natalie Lister
  • Dr Hiba Jebeile
  • Dr Sloane Madden
  • Prof Michael Kohn
  • Prof Tim Shaw
  • Dr Lorraine Ivancic
  • Diana Bond
  • Dr Anna Janssen
  • A/Prof Jennifer Merry-Smith
  • Prof Katherine Mills
  • Kelly Dann
  • Emma Bryant
  • Ashlea Hambleton
  • Sarah Barakat
  • Sarah Rodan
  • Jordan Martenstyn
  • Eyza Koreshe
  • Mirei Okada