CEDD Research


CEDD is presently conducting a follow-up study on the original cohort of 171 individuals with Anorexia Nervosa whose severity of illness was assessed and staged between 5 and 7 years ago.  The Anorexia Nervosa Staging system much like the cancer staging system aims to provide a system of classification for eating disorders on the anorexic spectrum so that an individual can be placed at any point in time along the continuum of illness severity. This would enable opportunities for early intervention, to prevent illness progression, and to match treatments to stage for this group. The CASIAN instrument developed 7 years ago assesses severity in AN, and stages the patient illness; Stage 0 indicating no disease, up to Stage 4 indicating severe AN. This staging assessment allows those with a sub-threshold presentation to be correctly diagnosed with Stage 1 illness rather than an EDNOS The CASIAN has been demonstrated to have excellent reliability and validity properties. If you would like to use the CASIAN as part of a research trial or clinical practise to assess severity in AN please email info@cedd.org.au and request a copy.


In collaboration with Professor Janice Russell (Chief Investigator), we are currently examining the application of a novel biological treatment, Oxytocin, for anorexia nervosa (AN). This randomised double blind placebo-controlled trial investigates the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin as an adjunct to nutritional rehabilitation treatment in AN. The trial will include 150 inpatient participants from across four clinical sites, Northside Clinic, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Wesley Private Hospital and Austin Health, Melbourne. Participants will receive 36 IU of oxytocin (or placebo) daily for 4 weeks. The effect of oxytocin on food-related anxiety, core psychopathology, cognitive rigidity, as well as social and interpersonal behaviour, will be examined at multiple time points. The pilot clinical trial was funded by the Butterfly Foundation and NSW Health, and was completed in 2014. Findings from this trial indicated that oxytocin reduced Eating Concern, a core aspect of eating disorder psychopathology as measured by the Eating Disorder Examination. Oxytocin also dampened the cortisol (stress) response when patients where confronted with a high-calorie snack. These promising findings pave the way for the current research, and suggest potential for oxytocin to make a meaningful difference to the experience of inpatient treatment for AN. For further information please email info@cedd.org.au