Eating Disorders Research

The Eating Disorder Service (EDS) at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead is the largest child and adolescent eating disorder service in NSW.

Every year, hundreds of children throughout NSW and beyond receive care and support from the eating disorder team. Key to its success has been a strong clinical research focus driving treatment innovation in the treatment of children and their families with this challenging condition. The team has over 15 years of clinical research expertise and is a leader in providing evidence-based training in medical and psychiatric management and family-based treatment.

Over recent years the CHW eating disorder research team has forged strong links with other treatment services and universities locally, nationally and internationally.  Key partners include the Adolescent Eating Disorder Service at Westmead Hospital, CHW Gastroenterology and Endocrinology, Psychology and Psychological Medicine at the University of Sydney, The University of Western Sydney, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth, The Garvan Institute, The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Units, Stanford University, The University of Chicago, Great Ormond St Paediatric Hospital in London, The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Loughborough University and the University of Kiel.

The service is very supportive of student research and in 2014-5 supported 12 individual student projects from honours to PhD both nationally and internationally.

Current projects

 Current research projects include:

  • Optimisation of inpatient care in conjunction with family-based treatment – long term outcomes
  • Understanding the impact of body image and influence of genetics in Anorexia Nervosa
  • Long term body composition in recovery, specifically bone health and muscle mass
  • Emotional and neurobiological responses to food in children and adults
  • A narrative on the journey of recovery in chronic Anorexia Nervosa
  • Family relationships and attachment in family-based treatment
  • The incidence of early onset eating disorders in girls and boys
  • Consideration of inpatient refeeding for medical stabilisation
  • The role of exercise within the inpatient care program
  • Ongoing reviews of new and unique treatments:
    • Family Admissions Program
    • Nourish Parent Group
    • IFAED Day Hospital
    • Multifamily Therapy

The research team

> Dr Sloane Madden, Co-Director of The Eating Disorders Service

Sloane is a child and adolescent psychiatrist recognized for his expertise in managing child and adolescent eating disorders. As the co-director of the largest public eating disorder service in NSW, Sloane’s work has led to innovative new ways of treating young people with eating disorders and has changed practice and policy internationally. His research focuses on the treatment of anorexia nervosa, early onset eating disorders, and the changes in brain function caused by eating disorders. More information can be found on Sloane's University of Sydney profile page

> Associate Professor Michael Kohn, Co-Director of The Eating Disorders Service

Michael is a paediatrician who specialises in the assessment and management of ADHD, nutrition (cholesterol) and eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia and obesity). His research has involved trying to understand the neuropsychological and neurobiological aspects of ADHD and the effects of medications on them, allowing paediatricians to tailor treatment to the individual needs of each patient. His work has led to the development of a tool which is being used worldwide to diagnose children suspected of having ADHD. More information can be found on Michael's University of Sydney profile page

> Other Research Team Members:

  • Associate Professor Simon Clark, Paediatrician
  • Dr Jane Miskovic-Wheatley, Senior Clinical Research Psychologist
  • Mr Andrew Wallis, Senior Social Worker

Key publications

Madden S, Miskovic-Wheatley J, Wallis A, Kohn M, Lock J, Le Grange D, Jo B, et al. (2014) A randomized controlled trial of in-patient treatment for anorexia nervosa in medically unstable adolescents.Psychological Medicine: 1-13

Godfrey K, Rhodes P, Miskovic-Wheatley J, Wallis A, Clarke S, Kohn M, Touyz S, Madden S (2014) Inside the family meal: a thematic analysis of session two in Maudsley family-based treatment for anorexia nervosa. Journal of Eating Disorders 2(S1): O2

Godfrey K, Rhodes P, Miskovic-Wheatley J, Wallis A, Clarke S, Kohn M, Touyz S, Madden S (2014) Just One More Bite: A Qualitative Analysis of the Family Meal in Family‐based Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa. European Eating Disorders Review

White H, Haycraft E, Madden S, Rhodes P, Miskovic‐Wheatley J, Wallis A, Kohn M, Meyer C (2014) How do parents of adolescent patients with anorexia nervosa interact with their child at mealtimes? A study of parental strategies used in the family meal session of family‐based treatment. International Journal of Eating Disorders

Madden S, Fogarty S, Smith C (2014) Alternative and Complementary Therapies in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, Addictions, and Substance Use Disorders. In Eating Disorders, Addictions and Substance Use Disorders, pp. 625-647. Springer Berlin Heidelberg

Withers A, Mullan B, Madden S, Kohn M, Clarke S, Thornton C, Rhodes P, Touyz S (2014) Anorexia nervosa in the family: a sibling's perspective. Advances in Eating Disorders: Theory, Research and Practice 2 (1): 53-64

Hay P, Chinn D, Forbes D, Madden S, Newton R, Sugenor L, Touyz S, Ward W (2014) Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of eating disorders. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 48(11): 977-1008

Smith C, Fogarty S, Touyz S, Madden S, Buckett G, Hay P (2014) Acupuncture and Acupressure and Massage Health Outcomes for Patients with Anorexia Nervosa: Findings from a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial and Patient Interviews. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 20(2): 103-112

Ellison R, Rhodes P, Madden S, Miskovic J, Wallis A, Baillie A, Kohn M, Touyz S (2012) Do the components of manualized family-based treatment for anorexia nervosa predict weight gain? International Journal of Eating Disorders 45: 609-614

Kohn M, Madden S, Clarke S (2011) Refeeding in anorexia: increased safety and efficiency through understanding the pathophysiology of protein calorie malnutrition. Current Opinion in Pediatrics 23 (4): 390-394