Dr. Alexandra Muratore is the Recipient of a $50,000 GFED Young Investigator Award to Conduct a Pilot Study on Effective Treatments for Anorexia
Washington, DC – April 11, 2023 – The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) announced today that Dr. Alexandra Muratore, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry), at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, will receive the GFED Young Investigator Award, the first award made from the collaboration between the Global Foundation for Eating Disorders (GFED) and NEDA. Recent advances in understanding the neurobiology of anorexia nervosa (or anorexia) make it possible to develop new, mechanism-based approaches to treatment, with the potential for greater improvement in outcomes. This $50,000 investment will be used to fund a 1-year pilot study focused on brain-based treatment for those suffering from anorexia nervosa (AN).
“This award to Dr. Muratore, through the new GFED Young Investigator Award program at NEDA, embodies our shared philosophies about the importance of identifying, funding, and realizing actionable, accountable results from promising scientists applying the most innovative advances in neuroscience, genetics, and technology,” reflected NEDA’s CEO, Elizabeth Thompson. “Anorexia Nervosa is a devastating eating disorder with a mortality rate six times that expected for young women. Current behavioral and pharmacological treatments remain inadequate, with low rates of recovery and high rates of relapse. There is a critical need for novel interventions in the field. We look forward to learning the results from Dr. Muratore’s pilot study—remaining hopeful that this may be an innovative treatment for some patients.”
“We already know that anorexia is a brain-based disorder, and our group has evidence that there may be a brain circuit that contributes to restrictive eating behavior. Through our research, we have identified that this brain circuitry is disrupted in individuals with anorexia, and these brain changes appear to impact decisions that patients make about food,” stated Dr. Muratore. “We have preliminary data supporting the use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a non-invasive form of brain stimulation, to engage this neural circuit, that results in impacting food choice patterns among patients with this disorder. “
The pilot study will be launched this spring and involves 30 female participants. rTMS has previously been used for the treatment of other psychiatric disorders and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
“My team and I would like to thank GFED and NEDA for their support, “added Dr. Muratore. “We can now conduct a larger study to demonstrate more definitively whether rTMS applied to this circuit is able to target the neural disturbance associated with anorexia nervosa, and to help patients change their food choices. We believe findings from this research will help us to develop novel, brain-based treatments for anorexia nervosa.”
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About the National Eating Disorders Association
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, and access to quality care. Through our programs and services, NEDA raises awareness, builds communities of support and recovery, funds research and puts essential resources into the hands of those in need. For more information, visit www.www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
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