Eating Disorders Program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Expands to Include Young Adults

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 General News
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PALO ALTO, Calif., March 18 The Comprehensive EatingDisorders Program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford isexpanding to treat young adults ages 18 to 21. This allows the program to nowoffer treatment to older adolescents and college students.

"I am delighted that the Eating Disorders Program is being made availableto our undergraduate age group," said Naomi Brown, PhD, an eating disorderstreatment specialist at Stanford's Vaden Health Center for students. "Havingaccess to such a renowned program is very important to those eating disorderedstudents who need a higher level of care."

Eating disorders are often thought of as a uniquely adolescent problem.But, as Brown indicates, the condition can linger into or even begin in youngadulthood. Packard Children's has coupled the longest continuously runninginpatient eating disorders program in the Bay Area with an outpatient programthat coordinates medical and psychiatric treatment. Through the years, theprogram has helped thousands of patients.

"We provide the most advanced, most effective treatments available," saidchild psychiatrist James Lock, MD, PhD. Lock, who is the program's psychiatricdirector, pioneered a family-based treatment known as the Maudsley method in2001 and published the first treatment manual using this approach.

"We're very family and developmentally oriented, and able to understandand address the differences between what a 9- versus a 14- versus a21-year-old patient will need. It's a blame-free, solution-focused approach,"said Lock.

He and his colleagues tailor their therapies to the specific familydilemmas, age and circumstances of each patient. Although hospitalization wasthe norm in years past, the team has found that many patients benefit frommaintaining their social and academic connections while undergoing treatment.

"Lengthy hospitalizations used to be common," said Lock, "because we hadno effective, research-based treatments. Now we know that it's much moredevelopmentally healthy to keep these kids in the community if at all possibleand to involve their family in the re-feeding and recovery process."Physicians at the Eating Disorders Program carefully monitor the medicalstatus of outpatients to ensure they stay medically safe while undergoingtreatment.

Ongoing research has been part of the eating disorders program since itsinception. In addition to a large-scale comparison of family-based andindividually-oriented treatment, Lock and his colleagues are researching twotypes of family therapy-one focused on symptoms and weight restoration, andone on family processes. They are also conducting a recently funded study toinvestigate the effectiveness of a treatment called Cognitive RemediationTherapy that targets the thinking style of patients with eating disorders.

"CRT is a highly innovative approach to anorexia nervosa," said Lock. Thestudy also includes additional treatment using cognitive and interpersonaltherapy. Subjects enrolled in the study receive treatment free of charge.

Other research projects focus on brain imaging in eating-disorderedpatients, the management of osteoporosis in anorexia nervosa, how adolescentsufferers use Internet sites that promote eating disorders and how differencesin gender and ethnicity affect eating disorder symptoms.

About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Ranked as one of the nation's top 10 pediatric hospitals by U.S. News &World Report, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 272-bedhospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providingpediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with theStanford University School of Medicine, Packard Children's offers patientslocally, regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs andservices, from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and

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