International Conference on Eating Disorders 2017: A Recap

BY: Christine Peat, PhD

DATE: 22 June 2017

The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) hosted the 2017 International Conference on Eating Disorders (ICED) in beautiful Prague, Czech Republic.


The conference was a fantastic opportunity for members of Dr. Cynthia Bulik’s research teams at (both UNC and at Karolinska Institutet) to present their research, network, and learn about the latest treatment and research advances in eating disorders. This year’s theme was “Diverse Perspectives, Shared Goals” and the many presentations in this year’s conference certainly embodied that theme. The keynote address entitled “Psychological Treatments for the World” was given by Dr. Vikram Patel. Dr. Patel gave a thoughtful and stimulating lecture on how the eating disorders field can learn from other areas of mental health to better disseminate research findings both on a local and global level. Such dissemination efforts will have significant impact on the field’s ability to translate important research findings (e.g., treatment advances) to the audiences who need this information the most. In addition to the keynote address, there were several notable plenary sessions throughout the conference programming. The opening plenary was focused on clinical staging and individualized approaches to eating disorders’ treatment and Drs. Wood, Le Grange, and Grilo gave presentations on various approaches to better tailoring eating disorder interventions. The sociocultural plenary focused on trying to bridge the gap between the fields of eating disorders and weight management/obesity. Dr. G. Terrence Wilson delivered an impassioned lecture on the lack of empirical evidence supporting food addiction in the eating disorder treatment literature while Dr. Ashley Gearhardt provided data that support the concept of food addiction in the etiology and maintenance of some forms of disordered eating. Although the discussants highlighted the sometimes notable tension between the field of eating disorders and the field of weight management/obesity, the discussant Dr. Kelly Brownell, PhD, (notable researcher and public policy expert now Dean of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy), helped to synthesize the information from all presenters to help the audience better appreciate the nuances.

In addition to the keynote and plenary sessions, there were a number of paper presentation sessions ranging from the etiology and maintenance of eating disorders to treatment advances and leading-edge findings in the biology/genetics of eating disorders. Several members of the UNC lab and Karolinska Institutet presented their latest research findings in both paper presentations and posters (see below). In addition, CEED’s Stephanie Zerwas, PhD collaborated with Dr. Jillian Lampert (at the Emily Program) and Dr. Eric van Furth (at Leiden University Medical Center) to give a workshop on the similarities and differences between academic medical centers and residential eating disorder centers. Workshop attendees included professionals from both types of organizations and efforts were made to help us come together as a field to achieve a shared goal of treating and preventing eating disorders.

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Dr. Bulik at the closing dinner with Dr. Katherine Halmi, Professor Emerita of Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medical College and self-styled grandmother of the eating disorders field.

The closing social was held at St. Agnes Convent – a location that was not only stunning, but full of history and the perfect way to close out a very successful ICED 2017. The cathedral itself is the oldest Gothic building in Bohemia and it provided a beautiful backdrop to the closing event of the conference. Attendees had an opportunity to enjoy the city of Prague in a unique location and to catch up with old friends and colleagues after several days of programming. Between the research presentations, plenary addresses, and the closing social, ICED 2017 was one for the books!


A list of presentations and posters from the UNC group is as follows:

Watson, H. J., Zerwas, S., Torgersen, L., Gustavson, K., Diemer, E., Knudsen, G. P., Reichborn-Kjennerud, T., & Bulik, C. (2017, June). Maternal eating disorders and perinatal outcomes: A three-generation study in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Paper presented at the 23rd annual International Conference on Eating Disorders, Prague, Czech Republic.

Peat, CM, Thornton, LM, Smith, TW, Levinson, CA, Larsson, H., Birgegard, A., & Bulik, CM. Using network analysis to elucidate the relationships among binge-eating disorder symptoms and associated psychopathology. Paper presentation at the International Conference on Eating Disorders, Prague, Czech Republic (June, 2017).

Peat, CM, Berkman, ND, Lohr, KN, Brownley, KA, Bann, CM, Cullen, K, & Bulik, CM. Comparative effectiveness of treatments for binge-eating disorder: Systematic review and network meta-analysis. Poster presentation at the International Conference on Eating Disorders, Prague, Czech Republic (June, 2017).

Yilmaz, Z., Gottfredson, N. C., Zerwas, S. C., Bulik, C. M., & Micali, N. (2017, June). Developmental premorbid BMI trajectories of adolescents with eating disorders in a longitudinal population cohort. Accepted as paper presentation at the annual meeting of the International Conference for Eating Disorders in Prague, Czech Republic.