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Current Projects

Lab members are currently working on the following projects. Please click on the links for more information.

Weight History, Brain Activation to Food Cues and Eating Disorder Pathology
Weight Suppression, Dieting, and Bulimia Nervosa: A Biobehavioral Study
ENACT (Weight Loss Maintenance)
Nutritrol: A Test of Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Weight Loss Maintenance

Weight History, Brain Activation to Food Cues and Eating Disorder Pathology (Neuroimaging Eating Disorder Study)

Project Type: Grant Funded
Project Description:
Eating disorders are a serious mental and physical health problem. Weight history and abnormal activation in brain reward and inhibitory areas appear to be related to ED psychopathology. This study will examine fMRI-assessed brain reward and inhibitory areas and weight history variables to predict, cross-sectionally and prospectively, ED psychopathology. Results will support development of novel treatments for these treatment-resistant disorders. We test the hypotheses that the two domains will be cross-sectionally related to eating disorder psychopathology, will predict future weight gain, ED symptomatology and course and that brain activation in reward and inhibitory regions of interest will mediate the predictive effects of Weight History variables on weight change and ED outcomes. These hypotheses will be tested among 96 ED individuals receiving treatment in any level of outpatient care. At baseline they will be assessed using standardized measures of Weight History and ED psychopathology and will undergo structural and functional MRI using a paradigm aimed at measuring their reward and inhibitory activation to food pictures in regions of interest. The measures of weight and ED symptomatology will be repeated at 3 and 6-month follow-ups.
Start Date: Spring 2014
Anticipated End Date: Spring, 2018

Weight Suppression, Dieting, and Bulimia Nervosa: A Biobehavioral Study (The Eating Disorder Study)

Project Type: Grant funded
Project Description:
Psychosocial models of bulimia nervosa (BN) emphasize the role of dieting as a proximal cause of binge eating and purging. Diet-induced long-term energy imbalance (weight suppression, or the difference between one’s highest-ever body weight and current weight) can be differentiated from a short-term energy imbalance (current dieting to either lose weight or avoid weight gain). This study examines biological and behavioral (e.g., binge eating and purging) correlates of weight suppression and current dieting in those with BN. The project will recruit 132 women (66 at Drexel University and 66 at Columbia University) meeting DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for BN. Participants will complete 14 days of ecological momentary assessment as well as measures of food consumption, resting energy expenditure, and metabolic and appetitive hormones. Participants will return for a 6-month follow-up visit to assess eating disorder symptoms and weight.
To see if you are eligible for this study, please email TEDS@drexel.edu or call 215-553-7171.
Start Date: Spring, 2012
Anticipated End Date: Spring, 2016

ENACT

Project Type: Grant funded
Project Description:
This study compares 3 different treatments focused on weight loss and weight loss maintenance in overweight adults. Participants are randomly assigned to one of three conditions, all of which are designed to help participants lose weight and keep it off long-term. The treatments vary in terms of how much they emphasize different skills that help people to lose weight. Over the course of the one-year intervention, participants attend weekly group-based sessions for 4 months, bi-weekly sessions for the next 2 months, and monthly sessions for the last 6 months. They then attend follow-up assessments at 6 and12 months post-treatment. Analyses will test whether there are any differences between the three conditions in degree of weight loss maintenance obtained over the follow-up period.
Start Date: Fall, 2011
Anticipated End Date: Spring, 2016

Nutritrol: A Test of Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Weight Loss Maintenance

Project Type: NIH R01 Grant
Project Description:
This study compares 3 different treatments focused on weight loss and weight loss maintenance in overweight adults. Participants are randomly assigned to one of three conditions, all of which are designed to help participants lose weight and keep it off long-term. The treatments vary in terms of how they help participants to change the nutritional makeup of their diet. Over the course of the one-year intervention, participants attended weekly group-based sessions for 6 months and bi-weekly sessions for the next 6 months. They then attend follow-up assessments at 6 and 12 months post-treatment. 24-month follow-ups are currently underway. Analyses will test whether there are any differences between the three conditions in degree of weight loss maintenance obtained over the follow-up period.
Start Date: Fall, 2009
Anticipated End Date: Spring, 2014, Extension through Spring, XXXX