NIH Funds Columbia University to Study and Provide Free Treatment to Teens with Bulimia

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Researchers at Columbia University receive 5-year grant from National Institute of Mental Health to provide free treatment and fund a study of brain development in teens (ages 12-18) with Bulimia Nervosa. More info is available at

Researchers in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center have received a 5-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study brain development in teens, ages 12-18, with Bulimia Nervosa. Teens with eating problems and their families can learn more about the study and free treatment opportunity at

Bulimia Nervosa is a significant public health concern, which is becoming more prevalent among female adolescents. It is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge-eating followed by self-induced vomiting or other compensatory behavior to avoid weight gain. Such episodes of binge-eating are typically associated with a severe sense of loss of control.

Asked about the study, the principal investigator, Dr. Rachel Marsh, explains that “previous functional neuroimaging (fMRI) findings in both adults and adolescents with Bulimia Nervosa have shown specific neural disturbances that interfere in the ability to control one’s eating.”

“However,” explains Marsh, “we do not yet know how these neural disturbances arise or how they contribute to the development and persistence of Bulimia Nervosa during adolescence. This is what we will be studying in the process of offering free treatment to teens with Bulimia.”

Dr. Marsh, a Pediatric Neuroimager in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University, is conducting this study with psychiatrists in the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders, an internationally recognized center for the treatment of individuals with Eating Disorders.

More About the Study

Participation in the teen bulimia study involves completing interviews, games and puzzles, as well as an MRI scan. Inpatient or Outpatient treatment, free of charge, will be provided to girls in need. Compensation (up to $400) will also be provided for participation. The study takes place at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive in Manhattan. For more information or to apply, visit or call the Columbia Eating Disorders Clinic at (212) 543-5739


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