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25 February 2009 - PR 09/22

National Eating Disorders week 22 – 28 Feb

Loughborough University researchers take LEAP forward in the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa

Researchers at Loughborough University’s Centre for Research into Eating Disorders (LUCRED) have developed a new treatment for Anorexia Nervosa aimed at tackling the reliance on excessive exercise by patients.

Under the supervision of Dr Caroline Meyer, LUCRED Director, the work of PhD student Lorin Taranis has led to a recent pilot trial of a new psychological treatment  – LEAP, which stands for Loughborough Eating disorders Activity theraPy. LEAP is currently the focus of a large ‘Randomised Control Trial’ (RCT) funding bid in collaboration with the University of Sydney and Leicester NHS Eating Disorders Service.

Dr Meyer said: “Current treatments for Anorexia Nervosa are limited in their effectiveness. Even the world’s most eminent clinicians, delivering the current best practice treatments only achieve a good clinical outcome with approximately 50% of their patients.

“One of the factors that predicts poor outcome is the reliance on exercise as a means of controlling weight, shape and mood.  Patients for whom exercise is a characteristic of their eating disorder are more likely to require hospitalisation, have a longer length of inpatient treatment and are more likely to have poor therapeutic outcome or relapse.

“Previous research suggests that up to 80% of anorexic patients excessively exercise during the acute phase of their disorder. However, prior to LEAP there have been no focussed attempts at reducing an individual’s use of exercise.”

In addition to their commitment to conducting research into clinical and sub-clinical eating disorders, LUCRED is currently undertaking numerous research studies aimed at understanding a broad range of eating-behaviours. Further information about these studies can be found at the LUCRED website.

National Eating Disorders Week, which is running from February 22-28, is held every year to raise awareness to help prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Anyone with concerns about eating disorders should contact UK charity B-EAT on 0845 6341414.


For all media enquiries contact:

Jo Lumani
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.P.Lumani@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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