Nadia Micali's Group

Neurobiology and Cognition in eating disorders: a high-Risk Eating disorder offspring study (eNCORE)

This innovative research project aims to identify neurocognitive and neural biomarkers of Eating Disorders (ED) using the at-risk methodology. This study design allows to investigate specifically biomarkers for individuals susceptible to develop an ED. Therefore, the study focuses on offspring of mothers with ED (prior to onset of illness).

Based on preliminary findings and evidence from the literature, our specific aims entail studying executive function, social cognition and their neural bases in ED high-risk young people and in corresponding age-, gender- and puberty-matched controls. To achieve our goals, we capitalize on a range of techniques including neuropsychological tasks, high-density electroencephalography (EEG) for describing brain networks with high temporal resolution, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for ascertaining brain structure, functional and structural connectivity. We are currently recruiting 50 high-risk ED offspring between 8 and 15 years of age and their mothers. In parallel, we are recruiting 50 age-, gender- and puberty-matched offspring and their healthy mothers as controls. This project is innovative and will move the field forward in shedding a light on intermediate phenotypes for ED relying on the implementation of a multi-modal approach based on brain imaging techniques and neurocognitive investigation.