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Date: July 21, 2021

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Topic: Although anorexia nervosa (AN) is called an eating disorder, many believe restricted eating and emaciation in AN occurs secondarily to cognitive factors.  New evidence suggests that disturbances within the neural circuitry regulating eating, reward, and motivation contribute to AN.  In particular, high anxiety appears to inhibit this neural circuitry.   The primary focus and cost of higher levels of care for AN is nutritional restoration and weight gain.  However, limited progress has been made as the rate of relapse remains high and no treatment has been proven to normalize eating behavior.  New insights into mechanisms of pathological eating in AN are needed to advance the search for more effective treatments.

About Dr. Kaye:

Walter Kaye, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in treating individuals with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. As director of the Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program at UC San Diego Health, Dr. Kaye and his team use an intensive and innovative approach that addresses each person’s medical, psychological and psycho-educational health. The evidence-based program also offers family counseling to help patients and their families with improved understanding, communication, and capacity for growth.

Dr. Kaye is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry, where he instructs medical students and residents. His research seeks to understand why individuals develop eating disorders and to use what is learned to develop more effective treatments.

An internationally recognized leader in the field, his research has worked to identify genes that contribute to the development of anorexia and bulimia nervosa. He has also used brain imaging to document pathways associated with anxiety and obsessive behaviors surrounding food and eating. Dr. Kaye has authored and co-authored more than 300 articles and publications.


  1. Jennifer Aviles

    Pleased to see this angle is being paid attention to. My daughter’s anxiety came first when she was about 8 and continues in her 40’s to be a major diagnosis. I wish researchers would come up with a medication as effective as the benzodiazepines without the addiction factor.

  2. Nathalie Jones

    is it possible to access a recording of this presentation? I forgot to register but am interested as an eating disorders dietitian, working at the Priory in Glasgow

  3. Allyson Senie

    Is it possible ( and specificaly where) to access the additional questions raised at the end of the talk and of course to access Dr Kaye and his team’s answers?

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