Take part in our research
We currently have the following studies you can take part in. Please see the inclusion and exclusion criteria for each trial before contacting us.
The TIARA study: Transcranial magnetic stimulation and Imaging in AnoRexia nervosA
A step by step guide for friends & family to become a Recovery Mentor
Clinical outcomes and their neural correlates
The proposed study is a randomised control trial comparing treatment with repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to sham (placebo) rTMS treatment in individuals with Anorexia Nervosa, using a number of neuroimaging measures to explore the neural mechanisms underlying the treatment effect of rTMS. In particular, this study will examine the impact of rTMS on both brain functioning (by analysing connectivity within neural networks during rest and task performance) and brain structure/composition in Anorexia Nervosa.
To conduct a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) of therapeutic rTMS compared to sham (placebo) rTMS in a sample of 44 Anorexia Nervosa patients, assessing clinical outcomes and their neural correlates. Patients will be randomly allocated to two groups i) 20 sessions of rTMS treatment over 4 weeks or ii) 20 sessions of sham (placebo) rTMS treatment.
- two one-hour MRI scans
- computerised brain puzzles
- 20 sessions of either real/sham rTMS (~1 hr per weekday, 4 weeks)
- ratings in relation to food stimuli
- blood samples.
You are eligible to take part if you have/are:
- male and female participants who are aged 18 or over
- BMI between 14 and 18.5 kg/m2
- current DSM-V diagnosis of AN-Restricting type (ANR), AN-Binge/purging type (ANBP) or EDNOS-Anorexia type (EDNOS-AN).
You are not eligible to take part if you are / have a history of:
- head or eye injury
- neurological disease including previous seizures of any kind
- metallic implants in the head
- on a dose of any psychotropic medication that has not been stable for at least 14 days prior to participation in the study
- are on antipsychotic medication
- are on anticonvulsive medication
- have other current major psychiatric disorders (eg major depressive disorder, substance dependence, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) needing treatment in its own right
- if there is a severe abnormalities found in the screening clinical blood sample
- any indications on the rTMS safety questionnaire and/or the MRI safety questionnaire that is considered unsafe to deliver rTMS or undergo MRI scanning.
You will be partially reimbursed for travel costs.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 0183
Examining the effect of a single-dose of oxytocin on social and emotional functioning in eating disorders
You are invited to take part in a research project evaluating a new DVD which has been written, produced, and directed by carers, patients, & clinicians with experience of eating disorders to train family and friends to become a recovery mentor.
Aim: We wish to assess whether the DVD, as an adjunct to treatment as usual, is effective for improving eating disorder symptoms. We also aim to test whether the SUCCEED DVD impacts distress in friends and family.
What’s involved: Individuals receiving treatment for an eating disorder, and their friends & family, who have a supportive role in recovery, can take part.
We will ask you all to complete a series of questionnaires (now, in 2 month’s, and in 6 month’s time). Family & friends will be randomly allocated to start training to be a Recovery Mentor now or after a short waiting period.
If you think you might be interested, please visit:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 5963
Cognitive bias modification in eating disorders
(Recruitment opened in April 2014)
Aims: The aim of this pilot study is to test the effect that a single dose of oxytocin has on trust, relationship with carers, and social and emotional functioning in anorexia nervosa.
What’s involved: Participants will be tested on two occasions (once with oxytocin, once with placebo). The second testing session will be conducted 2-7 days after the first. During each session participants will complete a set of questionnaires and computerised tasks, and will be invited to have a test-meal.
How long it takes: two sessions
- fluency in English
- no visual/motor/cognitive impairment
- a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa
- outpatients, inpatients, or volunteers from the community
- 18-65 years old
- no comorbid diagnosis of psychosis and/or drug – alcohol abuse
- no consumption of more than 28 units of alcohol per week (1 unit = 1/2 pint of beer (285mls) or 25ml of spirits or 1 glass of wine) (in the past 6 months)
- no more than 5 cigarettes per day (past 6 months)
- no metal implants
- no hormonal contraceptives
- not exercising more than 5 times per week/2 hours each day (10 hours/week).
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 5980
Computerized attention training (CAT) for anorexia nervosa
Aims: The study is aimed at testing the acceptability of a computerised training programme to modify negative cognitive bias to social and self-related stimuli in patients with eating disorders.
What’s involved: Participants will meet the researcher on 4 different days, over the course of 7-10 days.
During the first day (baseline; 60 min.), subjects will complete a set of questionnaires and computerised tasks and will be assigned to either a training, experimental condition or a control condition of one of two cognitive bias modification modules.
During the second (20-minute), third (20-minute), and fourth (60-minute) sessions participants will complete the computerised training tasks.
At the end of fourth session, all participants will complete the same measures completed at baseline.
How long it takes: four sessions
- fluency in English
- no visual/motor/cognitive impairment
- diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, or bulimia nervosa, or eating disorder not otherwise specified
- outpatients, inpatients, or volunteers from the community
- 18-55 years old
- no comorbid diagnosis of psychosis and/or drug – alcohol abuse.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 5980
Eating disorders, the brain, and reward
This project is an investigation into the therapeutic effects of a computerized attention training for patients with Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Such attention training, derived from clinical psychology research, has had promising effects on symptom reduction in other disorders.
The primary aim is to determine if a computerized attention training improves treatment outcomes, such as eating disorder symptoms and related difficulties, such as anxiety. Our secondary aim is to explore underlying mechanisms that contribute to these improvements. This will help us to determine if such a training could become part of usual clinical care for people with eating disorders.
During a first assessment (baseline; 90 minutes) participants will be asked to complete a set of questionnaires and (computerized) tasks.
Participants will then be assigned to either the experimental condition or a control condition of our attention training module which consists of three sessions usually within one week (approximately 30 minutes each).
After the last training session, all participants will complete again a set of questionnaires and related (computer) tasks (90 minutes). Four weeks after this assessment, participants will be contacted for a brief follow-up assessment that can be completed online (eg at home).
You are eligible to take part if you:
- are female and aged 18 or older
- have a BMI less than 18.5
- have a current diagnosis of AN-restricting type, AN-binge/purging type or EDNOS-anorexia type.
You are not eligible to take part if you are, or ever have been:
- on a dose of any psychoactive medication that has not been stable for at least 14 days prior to participation in the study
- experiencing another major psychiatric disorder (eg major depressive disorder, substance dependence, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) needing treatment in its own right
- experiencing learning and developmental impairments.
You will be compensated with £50 for your time and efforts of participating upon successful completion of all parts of this study and the follow-up assessment.
Behavioural Control in Eating Disorders
Would you like to help us understand more about the brain processes involved in the rewarding/valued nature of eating disorder symptoms?
Evidence suggests that individuals affected by eating disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa, highly value aspects of their illness. Furthermore, one factor that is thought to play a role in the development and maintenance of their symptoms is activity in the brain’s dopamine reward system.
The purpose of this study is to look at how activity in this brain system is associated with the positive value attributed to eating disorder-related stimuli and behaviours. In the long-term, we hope to further understanding of the brain processes that underpin these disorders, with the aim of developing improved and more targeted treatments.
The study takes place over two testing days (9am-5pm) at the Maudsley campus in South London. Prior to testing, you will be screened for eligibility and to explain the procedure. On each test day, you will be asked to drink one of two amino acid mixtures (i.e., a protein drink). On one day, the drink will contain all of the body’s essential amino acids. On the other, the drink will be lacking in phenylalanine and tyrosine, the amino acids you need to make the brain chemical dopamine. This will temporarily decrease your brain’s dopamine activity. This is a safe and widely used procedure.
We will measure the effects of decreased dopamine activity on your physiological and behavioural responses to eating disorder-relevant cues and behaviours (e.g., pictures of food and female bodies; motivation to exercise). We will also ask you to complete some brief questionnaires. Dopamine levels will be assessed by taking a 5 ml (~1 teaspoon) blood sample from you, twice on each day.
To reimburse you for your time and effort, you will receive £ 100 upon completion of the study.
For this investigation we are looking for females (18-50 years old) who either currently have anorexia nervosa (BMI 15 – 18.5) or bulimia nervosa.
Unfortunately, reasons why people cannot participate include: low literacy/learning difficulty, substance dependence (including smoking >10 cigarettes per day), a significant medical illness, pregnancy.
What will happen if I agree to take part?
Participation is voluntary and you may withdraw at anytime. All of the information you give us is anonymous, will remain completely confidential, and will be used for the purposes of this study only.
If you are interested in participating or would like further information without obligation, please contact: Miss Caitlin O’Hara
Tel: 020 7848 0246
Novel computerized training for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder
We aim to explore whether different types of behavioural control vary across the eating disorder spectrum as well as compared to people who have never had an eating disorder. This research aims to provide insight into the specific behavioural control mechanisms that might contribute to the maintenance and/or development of the different eating disorders.
Participants will first be telephoned to assess eligibility for the study. If eligible, participants will be invited to meet with the researcher for a single study session, which involves completing a set of questionnaires and computerised tasks, and measurement of weight and height.
This session will last approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Appointments take place at the Institute of Psychiatry at 103 Denmark Hill.
How long does it take:
- aged 18 or over
- fluent in English
- meets one of the following criteria:
- diagnosis of anorexia nervosa and BMI of <18.5kg/m2
- diagnosis of bulimia nervosa and BMI of >20kg/m2
- diagnosis of binge eating disorder and BMI of >20kg/m2
- no history or current eating disorder or other psychiatric illness; BMI between 20-25kg/m2.
- history of head or eye injury
- history of a neurological disease including previous seizures of any kind
- being on a dose of any psychotropic medication that has not been stable for at least 14 days prior to participation in the study
- taking antipsychotic medication
- taking anticonvulsive medication
- being pregnant.
You will be reimbursed £10 for participation and up to £5 in travel costs.
Tel: 0207 848 0183
This is a clinical trial that examines the potential therapeutic effects of a specific computerized cognitive bias modification training for patients with Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder. This training is considered to alter automatic behavioural responses towards visual cues of high calorie food and has had promising effects on food craving and other eating disorder symptoms in a non-clinical sample. We now want to examine whether it is also helpful for people with an eating disorder.
The primary aim of this study is to determine whether this specific training reduces binge eating and other eating disorder symptoms. Our secondary aims are to explore underlying mechanisms that contribute to these improvements. This will help us to determine if such a training could be used as an add-on treatment module in clinical care for people with eating disorders. There are no known side effects of this training.
Participants will first be telephoned to assess eligibility for the study. If eligible, participants will be invited to meet with a researcher for the baseline assessment (approx. 90 mins).
During this assessment participants will be asked to complete a set of questionnaires and computer tasks. Participants will then be assigned by chance to receive either 10 sessions of the real training or 10 sessions of a sham version of this training (within 4 weeks; 15 mins each).
After the last training session, participants will again complete a set of questionnaires and computer tasks (approx. 90 mins). Until this point, all appointments take place at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at 103 Denmark Hill.
Eight weeks after this assessment, participants will be contacted for a brief follow-up assessment (approx. 30 mins) that can be completed via telephone.
We are looking for women and men over the age of 18 who have a current diagnosis of Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder. Eligibility will be fully determined after a more in-depth phone screening. Taking part in this study will not influence the timing of any treatment you are currently receiving for your eating disorder.
You will be compensated £10 for your time on the days of your assessment visits and your follow-up (total of £30). You will also be compensated up to £5 for your travel expenses on all study and treatment days.
If you are interested in taking part or would like further information please contact Dr Timo Brockmeyer (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that contacting us for further information does not mean you are obliged to take part in the study. Participation in this research is voluntary and if you decide to take part you may withdraw at any time without giving a reason.