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Take part in our research

Take part in our research

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We currently have the following studies you can take part in. Please see the inclusion and exclusion criteria for each trial before contacting us.


We Can Study - web-based intervention for carers of individuals with anorexia nervosa


ICARE LogoWe Can – A randomised controlled trial of a web-based intervention for carers of individuals with anorexia nervosa

Carers of people with anorexia nervosa play an important role in recovery, but often feel ill equipped to effectively support their loved one. This can have a negative impact on both the person with anorexia, and the mental health of their carer. We have developed and evaluated We Can, a web-based skills training programme, designed to support carers of people with anorexia.

 

Aims

This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a web-based skills package (‘We Can’) to support carers of individuals with anorexia nervosa, and to look at how different levels of support within the intervention may affect the results. We are interested in how the We Can skills package affects both the carer using the package, and also the person with anorexia whom they care for.

 

What’s involved?

Carers of adults with anorexia will be able to participate in an online skills programme, which they can access anywhere with an internet connection. Participation consists of;

  • Completion of 8 online interactive modules over a 12-week period
  • Access to an online chat forum with other carers
  • Completion of 4 sets of online questionnaires over a 12-month period

Carers will be randomly allocated to one of three conditions within the study, with all carers receiving access to the 8 modules and chat forum.

Adults with anorexia whose carers are participating in the programme will also have the opportunity to complete a set of 4 online questionnaires over a 12-month period. 

 

How long does it take?

The total duration of the study is 12 months, with participants completing the 8 online modules over a 12-week period.

 

Where will the study take place?

All parts of this study will be conducted online.

 

Inclusion Criteria

Carers

  • Aged 18+
  • Providing unpaid care for an adult (aged 16+) with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa
  • Fluent in English

Participants with anorexia

  • Have a current diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, OR have been recently been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, while currently meeting the criteria for another eating disorder (for example, individuals who have been recently weight-restored, but would meet all other criteria for anorexia nervosa).
  • Aged 16+
  • Fluent in English

 

Exclusion Criteria

Carers

  • Caring for a person with an eating disorder other than anorexia, who has never been diagnosed with anorexia
  • Carer currently suffering from an eating disorder
  • Unable to read and understand English

Participants with anorexia

  • Never having received a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa
  • Currently dependent on alcohol or drugs
  • Diagnosed with a current major psychological disorder, which would interfere with the participants’ ability to participate
  • Under the age of 16

 

Contact

For further information, please contact: lucy.spencer@kcl.ac.uk

 

Funding

The project is part of ICare, a European-wide research project funded by the European Commission, which aims to implement internet-based interventions that prevent mental health problems in different settings across Europe https://www.icare-online.eu/en/icare.html

EU Commission Logo


FABCAT: Food-Attention Bias Computerized Attention Training for Anorexia Nervosa

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 such as depression and anxiety.

 

Aims:

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.

 

What’s involved?

During a first assessment (baseline) participants will undergo a 1h-MRI scan, some questionnaires and some computer tasks. This session will last for about 3h (including MRI scan). 
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 two weeks (approximately 30 minutes each).  
After the last training session, all participants will complete a post-assessment session involving the same measures as the pre-assessment (including another 1h-MRI scan). Four weeks after this assessment, participants will be contacted for a brief follow-up questionnaire and an online survey. Both follow-up measures can be completed online (e.g. at home).

 

Inclusion criteria:

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.

 

Exclusion criteria:

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.

 

Compensation:
You will be compensated with £75 for your time and efforts of participating upon successful completion of all parts of this study and the follow-up assessment.

Contact: 

Email: daniela.mercado_beivide@kcl.ac.uk

Phone: 0207 848 5608


CytAN: Cytokines in individuals with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa

This project aims to understand the role of the immune system, specifically cytokines, in anorexia nervosa. Our brain and behaviour are influenced by the immune system. Cytokines are important messenger molecules in the immune system. There are many different types of cytokines with different roles. They can be measured in the blood and can tell us a lot about inflammation in the body. Research has shown that individuals with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa tend to have elevated levels of certain cytokines in their blood. However, very few cytokines have been measured and there are a number of cytokines that are important for the immune system and the brain that have never been measured in individuals with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. Also, we do not know whether cytokine levels are different in individuals with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa who have different clinical characteristics. These include factors such as illness duration, eating disorder symptom severity, and severity of co-existing disorders (e.g. depression).

 

Aims:

In this study, we want to measure a large range of cytokines to find out if the level of cytokines differs between healthy control participants and individuals with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. We also want to investigate whether cytokine levels are related to certain clinical characteristics. This study will help us to understand if cytokines are involved in the underlying biology of anorexia nervosa. As there are medications available to influence cytokine production, cytokine levels and cytokine effects, our research may lead to the development of future treatments to help with anorexia nervosa.

 

What’s involved?

Once you have read and understood the information sheet you will have a brief phone call with a researcher to check your eligibility. If you are eligible you will arrange a 1-hour research session at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London (London, SE5 8AF). In this session, you will complete a short questionnaire pack, have your height, weight and body composition measured, and you will provide blood samples. All data will be kept anonymous.

 

Who can take part?

Inclusion criteria - You are eligible to take part if you:

  • Are a female aged 18 or older
  • Have a current diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5kg/m2.
  • Are fluent in English

 

Exclusion criteria - You are not eligible to take part if you:

  • Have current acute or chronic inflammatory conditions (e.g. asthma, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Are pregnant

 

Compensation:

You will be reimbursed £15 for your time and efforts.

 

How can you take part?

If you are interested in taking part, or would like more information, you can contact Olivia or Bethan at:

Email: olivia.patsalos@kcl.ac.uk               Phone: 0207 848 5977

Email: bethan.l.dalton@kcl.ac.uk             Phone: 0207 848 0183

 


ICARUS
- Investigating Concurrent Cognitive Bias Modification Training and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Binge Eating Disorder

Aims

Cognitive training programmes and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques have each shown promise in research trials that treat symptoms of eating disorders. This study aims to investigate the feasibility of combining approach bias modification training (ABM) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to treat binge eating disorder. It will evaluate if concurrent sessions of [ABM + real tDCS] are superior to [ABM + sham tDCS] and the wait-list control group in terms of reducing symptoms of binge eating disorder such as frequency of objective binge eating episodes and food cravings.

 

What’s involved?

Participation consists of;

  • Completion of 3 assessment sessions across 7 weeks
  • After the baseline assessment, participants will be randomly allocated to one of three study conditions
  • Participants assigned to one of the two intervention conditions will be asked to attend 6 sessions where they will perform the ABM task while receiving either real or placebo tDCS, in addition to completing the post-treatment and follow-up assessments. This brain stimulation technique is widely used and considered safe.
  • Participants assigned to the control group will not receive any intervention, and will be asked to attend the post-treatment and follow-up assessments.
  • Participants in the control group will be offered the opportunity to receive [ABM + real tDCS] after the follow-up assessment at 7 weeks

 

How long does it take?

  • All participants in both the intervention and control groups of the study will complete 3 assessment sessions across 7 weeks, comprised of an in-person visit (between 60-150 minutes) and online questionnaires to complete at home (30 minutes).
  • Participants in the intervention groups will attend 6 sessions of combined cognitive training and tDCS across 3 weeks, lasting 40-50 minutes per session.

 

Where will the study take place?

All parts of this study will be conducted in the KCL Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in Denmark Hill, except for the initial study screening over the phone.

 

Inclusion Criteria

•    Male and female community-dwelling adults

•    Aged between 18 and 70

•    Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder (not Bulimia Nrevosa)

•    BMI greater than 25 kg/m²

 

Exclusion Criteria

  • Individuals with a significant/unstable medical or psychiatric disorders needing acute treatment in its own right (e.g., substance dependence, acute suicidality)
  • Individuals taking antidepressant medication who have not been on a stable dose for at least 2 weeks
  • Individuals with a history of epileptic seizures, stroke, or brain injury, who have any implanted metal devices in the head, frequent or severe headaches or dizziness
  • Individuals who smoke >10 cigarettes per day
  • Individuals who drink >3-4 units (men) or 2-3 units (women) of alcohol per day

Additional excluding criteria may apply and inclusion will be determined by the study screening.

 

Compensation:

All participants are reimbursed £60 for completing the 3 assessments, and travel expenses for the 6 intervention sessions will be covered up to £10 per visit.

 

Contact

For further information, please contact: gemma.gordon@kcl.ac.uk


FLARe in AN: Fear Learning in Anorexia Nervosa

We want to recruit both

a) individuals currently living with AN, and

b) individuals now weight-restored who previously lived with AN.

 

This study aims to examine how easily people become fearful or worried about things they encounter in daily life, and how long this anxiety lasts for.

 

The whole study takes place online through your mobile phone, so you don't need to travel anywhere.  All you need to do is download an app and it will guide you through the entire process. You decide where and when you want to complete the study – as long as it is a quiet room so that you can concentrate without distraction. You will be able to contact the researcher coordinating the study at any time during your participation, should you have any questions or encounter any issues.

 

First, you will be asked to complete some questionnaires. Following completion of the questionnaires, you will be shown pictures of geometrical shapes on top of a picture background. Some pictures will be accompanied by a loud noise (a scream). Your task is to rate your expectation of hearing the noise when you see different shapes.

 

The study involves two sessions. The first session will take approximately one hour. The second session needs to be completed the day after and will take around 10 minutes. We will reimburse you with a £10 voucher for your time on completion of the study.

 

If you are interested in taking part or have any questions, please email me on ellen.lambert@kcl.ac.uk


Sensory processing in anorexia nervosa and autism

Aims

This project aims to explore whether sensory processing is altered in anorexia nervosa compared to healthy controls, and whether this is related to levels of autistic traits. We are looking to recruit people who currently have a diagnosis of anorexia, and healthy controls.

What’s involved

The study involves one session at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience in Denmark Hill, and takes up to 2.5 hours. You will receive £20 for participating. The session involves a clinical interview to assess the presence of autistic traits, and filling out a questionnaire pack. The researcher will then test your sensory processing: this involves a heartbeat tracking task, a smell test and a taste test. The smell and taste tests do not involve actual food. The researcher will also assess your height and weight, however you can be blind weighed if preferred. All data will be kept anonymous.

Inclusion criteria

  • We are recruiting both men and women
  • Aged between 18 and 55 years
  • A current diagnosis of anorexia and a BMI equal to or below 17.5 OR no history of eating disorders or any other psychiatric diagnosis (healthy controls)
  • Fluent in English

Exclusion criteria

  • History of brain trauma, neurological impairment, serious medical condition or learning disability
  • Currently pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You cannot be tested if you have a current medical condition (e.g. a cold) affecting your sense of taste and smell. However, you can take part once you’re fully recovered.

Compensation

You will receive £20 for taking part.

How can you take part?

If you’re interested or would like to receive further information, please contact Emma at emma.kinnaird@kcl.ac.uk

 


The FOCUS Study

The FOCUS Study: A randomised controlled feasibility study of food related computerised attention training for obesity versus active (mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) and waiting list control.

This study is designed to compare the effects on treatment outcomes of two different attention trainings in people who are overweight or have obesity.

Aims:

We hope to determine which attention training has greater effects on treatment outcomes such as food craving and related difficulties such as anxiety. We also hope to explore underlying mechanisms that contribute to these improvements. This will help us to determine if and which training should in future become part of usual clinical care for people with eating and weight disorders.



What’s involved:

During a baseline assessment, participants will be asked to complete a set of questionnaires and computer and behavioural tasks. After this initial state, participants will be assigned to an attention training or to a waiting list condition. The trainings consists of eight weekly sessions in our lab, and daily short trainings at home. The Lab sessions will last for about 30 minutes and the home trainings are 10 min long. For your home sessions, we will provide you with an electronic tablet at the beginning of the study to complete the trainings and will kindly ask you to return it at the end of the eight weeks.

At the end of the training sessions (on week eight), participants will undergo a similar assessment to the one at the beginning of the trainings. Lastly, four weeks after having completed the training, participants will be contacted for a brief follow-up assessment that can be completed online (e.g. at home).



Inclusion criteria:

You are eligible to take part if you are:

  • Male or female
  • 18 years old or older
  • overweight or have obesity

 

Exclusion criteria:

You are not eligible to take part if you:

  • Have a past or present diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).
  • Are on a dose of any psychoactive medication that has not been stable for at least 14 days prior to participation in the study
  • Are taking medication for weight loss
  • Have been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus
  • Are pregnant (either currently or during the past 6 months)
  • Experiencing a major psychiatric disorder (e.g. major depressive disorder, substance dependence, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) needing treatment in its own right
  • Have a regular current or past mindfulness meditation or yoga practice (defined as > 20 minutes, twice or more times per week during the past 2 months)
  • Have any visual impairments that cannot be corrected with contact lenses or glasses

 

Compensation:
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.

Contact: 

Email: daniela.mercado_beivide@kcl.ac.uk


Transition Care in Anorexia Nervosa Through Guidance Online from Peer and Carer Expertise (TRIANGLE)

TRIANGLE is a national research study involving 28 hospital sites in the UK. The study investigates the journeys of adults with anorexia nervosa admitted to intensive hospital care for anorexia nervosa and their carers (family members, friends). The study is also designed to examine how the transition period from hospital to home can be improved. This period can be particularly challenging for everyone involved. We have developed a website with materials built for and by patients and carers who have experienced this problem and want to help others.

 

Aims:

The main aims of the TRIANGLE study are to:

  • Track the journeys of patients with anorexia nervosa admitted to hospital and their carers over an 18 month period
  • Examine whether some patients and their carers (chosen at random) may benefit long-term from extra resources and support delivered online, during the transition from hospital to home

What’s involved?

Once you have read and understood the information sheet you will have a brief phone call with a researcher to check your eligibility. If you are eligible you will be asked to complete a consent form and an initial questionnaire on the study website. Once you complete the initial questionnaire, your involvement in the project will last 18 months. A chance-related system will determine your study group allocation and you will be asked to complete some follow-up online questionnaires throughout the 18 months at key time points (3, 6, 9, 12, 18 months). You will receive access to a self-monitoring tool and depending on which group you are allocated to you will also receive access to some online resources whilst still receiving support from your clinical team. At the end of the study all participants will have access to the study materials, and you will be reimbursed up to £60 for completing the questionnaires.

Who can take part?

PATIENT IS ELIGIBLE IF:

  • Aged 16+
  • Anorexia Nervosa (DSM-V, including subclinical/atypical)
  • Receiving inpatient or day care (min. 3 days/week)
  • OR recently discharged (within 4 weeks)
  • Access to internet
  • Willing to ask carer to join study too (family/friend)

 

PATIENT IS NOT ELIGIBLE IF:

  • Insufficient English
  • Severe mental/chronic physical illness needing specialist treatment (e.g. Cystic Fibrosis, Psychosis, Diabetes Mellitus)
  • Pregnancy
  • Previously received “ECHOMANTRA” materials (as part of treatment or a research trial)

 

Compensation:

You and your carer will be reimbursed up to £60 for your time and efforts.

 How can you take part?

If you are interested in taking part, or would like more information, you can contact Katie or Dan at:

Email: katie.rowlands@kcl.ac.uk               Phone: 0207 848 5980

Email: daniel.p.willmott@kcl.ac.uk             Phone: 0207 848 5963


Social information processing in adolescents with eating disorders

Aims:

This project aims to understand more about social interactions and relationships among young people with eating disorders compared to those without eating disorders.

 

What’s involved:

Once you have understood the information sheet the researcher will arrange a brief telephone screening with you to confirm your eligibility to take part. If you are eligible to participate you will be invited to the research lab in 103 Denmark Hill, to complete a series of questionnaires about eating, mood and anxiety and some tasks related to social interactions and social networks. The researcher will ask if they can measure your weight and height during the experiment, but you can choose to be blind weighed if you prefer. The study will take two hours and you will receive a £15 Love To Shop voucher for your time and efforts.

 

Inclusion criteria: - 

  • Males or females
  • Aged between 13-17
  • Fluent in English
  • Have anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa (or subclinical/atypical)
  • Or no history of mental health conditions

Exclusion criteria: - 

  • Neurological impairments
  • Severe medical / psychiatric comorbidity (e.g. psychosis)

Compensation:

You will be reimbursed with a £15 ‘Love To Shop’ voucher for your time and efforts.

 

How can you take part?

If you are interested in taking part or would like more information, please contact Katie:

Email: katie.rowlands@kcl.ac.uk  

Phone: 0207 848 5980

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