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Title: Oxytocin : a new treatment for anorexia nervosa?
Author: Leppanen, Jenni Hannele
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 9221
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The course of anorexia nervosa (AN) is protracted and it remains a serious illness with the highest mortality rate among psychiatric disorders. Risk and maintenance models of AN suggest that difficulties in social-emotional processes and elevated stress and threat sensitivity play an important role in the development of AN and interact with the core processes further fuelling the illness. This thesis explores the question whether oxytocin is useful candidate to enhance treatment for anorexia nervosa. Chapter 2 systematically reviews studies examining the impact of experimentally induced negative and positive mood on eating behaviour across eating and weight disorders. The meta-analyses demonstrated that negative mood has an impact on eating behaviour particularly among people with subclinical and clinically-relevant difficulties around food and eating. Studies 2 and 3 investigate the neural processes that underlie anomalies in implicit social-emotional processing in AN. The functional neuroimaging findings showed that during implicit processing of facial affect people with AN have anomalies on neurofunctional level, in regions including the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and insula. Finally, studies 4 – 7 explore a potential new treatment, the neuropeptide oxytocin, and examine its effect on threat-related processing and social-emotional difficulties. The findings demonstrated that although intranasal oxytocin may modulate some aspects of threat processing, such as cortisol response and attentional bias among people with AN, it has little effect on social-emotional processing. Taken together, the findings indicate that there is currently little evidence to support the use of intranasal oxytocin in the treatment of AN or other psychiatric disorders. Interestingly, these findings also suggest that subjective mood can have a strong impact on eating behaviour and show that people with AN have anomalies in neural activation during implicit processing of social-emotional cues. New treatments targeting these anomalies may be helpful in the treatment of AN.
Supervisor: Leppanen, Jenni Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available