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Current Research

Current Research

Find out more about the current research being undertaken by the Eating Disorders team.

For more information on those studies we are recruiting to and how to participate, please click the link to the right: "take part in our research" 



The rate of admission and readmission for inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa has been rapidly increasing over the last ten years, leading to severe disruption during a critical stage in the lives of these young adults.Through pilot studies, we have found that involving carers and patients in treatment that prepares for transition from hospital to home can be of benefit.

TRIANGLE is a multi-centre randomised controlled trial which recruits patients and their families admitted for inpatient care and follows their progress for 18 months after admission. Using an online platform which hosts moderated chat sessions, training material, workbooks, and video clips, TRIANGLE aims to examine whether the transition from hospital treatment to home can be improved. 


The First Episode and Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED) project is an innovative early intervention service for young people who have developed an eating disorder within the last three years. The service, which is embedded in larger NHS specialist eating disorder services, involves a rapid screening and assessment protocol, evidence-based interventions for patients and carers, and an implementation toolkit for staff. The intervention aims to reduce the duration of untreated eating disorder and improve outcomes for patients and carers.

In 2014/15 the Section for Eating Disorders at King’s College London (KCL) and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) received funding from the Health Foundation to pilot the FREED service model, and the results were promising. FREED patients waited almost 40% less time for assessment and treatment, and overall clinical improvement was rapid and sustained.

Since this pilot study Professor Schmidt and her team have re-engaged the support of the Health Foundation to upscale the FREED initiative. FREED-Upscaled (FREED-up) aims to demonstrate the scalability of the FREED approach by implementing it across four specialist eating disorder services in Greater London and Yorkshire. The main objectives are to reduce waiting times for treatment and the duration of untreated eating disorders, improve treatment engagement and clinical outcomes, and demonstrate and cost effectiveness.

The FREED project has been presented at a number of conferences nationally and internationally, and had significant impact. Notably, the FREED team were honoured to receive the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Award for Mental Health Team of the Year 2017.

You can learn more about the FREED project by visiting their website,, and by following them on Twitter, @FREEDfromED.

FREED is committed to upholding the new GDPR guidelines. If you were part of the FREED-UP study there is now a new supplementary information sheet on data use available to you.


Brown, A. L., McClelland, J. K., Boysen, E., Mountford, V. A., Glennon, D., & Schmidt, U. H. (2016). The FREED Project (First episode and Rapid Early intervention in Eating Disorders): Service model, feasibility and acceptability. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1111/eip.12382

McClelland, J. K., Hodsoll, J., Brown, A. L., Lang, K., Boysen, E., Flynn, M., Mountford, V. A., Glennon, D., & Schmidt, U. H. A pilot evaluation of a novel First Episode and Rapid Early Intervention Service for Eating Disorders (FREED). DOI: 10.1002/erv.2579

Fukutomi, A.*, Austin., A.*, McClelland, J., Brown, A., Glennon, D., Mountford, V., Grant, N., Allen, K., & Schmidt, U. First episode rapid early intervention for eating disorders: A two‐year follow‐up. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1111/eip.12881.

FLARe in AN: Fear Learning in Anorexia Nervosa

There is a growing interest in examining the basic mechanisms that are trans-diagnostic across psychiatric disorders.


Research has found that Anxiety disorders are associated with exaggerated fear and threat appraisals. The hypothesis that anomalies in fear conditioning may be a trans-diagnostic feature across all anxiety disorders was first proposed in 2004 by M. Strober. 


It is possible that anomalies in fear conditioning could apply to the eating disorders population. However, very little work has examined this hypothetical framework.


FLARe in AN aims to examine the process of fear conditioning (fear acquisition/ generalisation/ extinction/ renewal) in individuals with Anorexia Nervosa, and those now recovered from the disorder.


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